Washington, November 30: Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin ordered a new investigation into a deadly US airstrike that killed dozens of women and children in Syria in 2019, The New York Times reported on Monday citing a defence official.

US Army Forces Command chief Michael Garrett will lead the investigation and have 90 days to review the handling of previous inquiries into the incident and further probe other reports of civilian casualties, possible violations of laws of war, accountability issues, and record-keeping errors, the report said. Also Read | Twitter Share Price Jumps Over 10% at Opening Bell After Report of CEO Jack Dorsey Stepping Down.

The US Defense Department will announce plans about the investigation later on Monday after Congress has been notified. The airstrike, which purportedly took place on March 18, 2019 during the battle of Baghuz, is reported to have killed up to 80 people. It was said to have been called in by Task Force 9, a secret US special operations unit responsible for ground operations in Syria. Also Read | Offensive Photoshoot by Pakistani Model at Kartarpur Gurdwara Annoys Sikh Community, Designer Too Slammed Online.

An investigation into the incident never occurred, and mentions of it were removed from a recent Defense Department report on the civilian casualties reporting process, according to the report.

The US Central Command is reported to have said the strike killed 16 militants and four civilians, while the status of another 60 people was unclear, as the Islamic State terror group (banned in Russia) occasionally uses women and children as fighters too.

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