Five British SAS soldiers accused of war crimes in Syria

Five British

Five British Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers are under investigation for war crimes in Syria, according to The Daily Mail on March 5th.

SAS sources told The Daily Mail that the elite troops are accused of using excessive force, have killed an unarmed suspected militant and would-be suicide bomber, found near a primed suicide vest during a 2014 operation.

UK special forces have been deployed to the country over the past decade in operations against Islamic State (IS), who seized large swaths of land in Syria and Iraq in 2014.

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The UK’s Defence Serious Crime Unit is investigating the soldiers but none have been arrested, the BBC reported.

The Daily mail claims that military chiefs have recommended that the Service Prosecuting Authority, the equivalent of the Crown Prosecution Service for civilians, charge the soldiers with murder.

The five British soldiers will be allowed to remain in service until charged.

While the Ministry of Defence (MOD) does not comment of special forces activity, a representative stated: “We hold our personnel to the highest standards and any allegations of wrongdoing are taken seriously,” and that “where appropriate, any criminal allegations are referred to the Service Police for investigation.”

An independent war crimes inquiry is currently also investigating alleged killings of civilians and unarmed people by UK special forces in Afghanistan, between 2010 and 2013.

Officials are assessing whether dozens of murders were carried out and covered up by the Royal Military Police (RMP).

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Allegations have been made on behalf of the families of 33 people, including eight children allegedly killed by special forces operatives.

Two RMP investigations, code-named Operation Northmoor and Operation Cestro, are set to be scrutinized by the inquiry.

No charges have been brought under the £10 million ($12.7 million) Operation Northmoor. Operation Cestro has seen three soldiers referred to the Service Prosecuting Authority, but not have been prosecuted as of yet.

The independent inquiry was commissioned by Ben Wallace, who was UK defence secretary from July 24th, 2019, to August 31st, 2023, under the 2005 Inquiries Act.

The Daily Mail / BBC

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