Army soldier cleared of charges related to mysterious shooting in Syria


Army paratrooper charged with misconduct that led to a brief shootout in 2020 between US troops and pro-regime forces in Syria has been cleared of all charges during a court martial in Fort Bragg, Carolina North, Friday.

Sgt. 1st Class Robert Nicoson, who was a Platoon Sergeant with the Blackhorse Troop of the 82nd Airborne Division, 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, in the incident of August 17, 2020, was found not guilty on seven counts by a jury made up of two lieutenant-colonels and six command sergeant-majors, according to his lawyer Phil Stackhouse. An eighth charge was dropped during the proof phase.

About eight months after his soldiers engaged Syrian troops at a checkpoint near Tal Az-Zahab, the military accused Nicoson of breaking orders, recklessly endangering, making unlawful threats. and obstruction of justice. Prosecutors accused Nicoson of approaching the checkpoint without permission, threatening to kill pro-regime forces if they were not allowed to pass, then ordering soldiers to remove video footage of the incident and to “falsely claim” that pro-regime forces had granted them safe passage.

Onlookers captured video and photos of the incident which were later posted on social media.

It is not known exactly what happened that day. US military officials issued a brief statement after the incident, claiming that a “patrol came under small arms fire” from individuals near the checkpoint and said the Americans “retaliated in the event of an attack. self-defense “during the 10-minute exchange of fire. Meanwhile, reports from a Syrian Civil War Watch Group and state-run Syrian media claimed that US forces killed one Syrian and injured two others after calling for reinforcements from gunships, which US officials have denied.

“The coalition did not carry out an airstrike,” said an Aug. 17, 2020 statement from Operation Inherent Resolve. “No casualties occurred. The coalition patrol returned to base. The incident is still under investigation.

Ultimately, the jury sided with Nicoson’s version of events after two hours of deliberation, according to Stackhouse, who said the “combat experienced” panel heard a week of testimony from over 20 years ago. witnesses.

What will happen next for Nicoson, or whether he will regain his full service status, remains unclear. Officials in Fort Bragg did not respond to an email from Task & Purpose requesting comment.

“Sergeant First Class Nicoson and his family continue to be humble and grateful to those who supported him and stood by his side,” Stackhouse said.

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