Soldier facing charges for shooting back when being attacked in Syria

A US Army paratrooper is facing charges related to an unsanctioned gunfight that took place last year against pro-Assad faction members at a checkpoint in Syria.

Sgt. 1st Class Robert Nicoson, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division and a platoon sergeant, is facing two counts of failure to obey an order or regulation, two counts of reckless endangerment, one count of communicating threats and three counts of obstructing justice in an Article 32 hearing later this month.

Sgt. 1st Class Robert Nicoson (family photo)

The SFC has been blamed for returning fire when Russian-backed Syrians broke their promise of providing the Americans “safe passage.”

Coalition ground forces joined in the shooting, but friendly aircraft did not engage.

The ground unit involved was the 82nd Airborne Division’s Blackhorse Troop, 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment.

One Syrian fighter was killed and two were wounded in what would be one of many altercations in a long proxy war between US-backed rebel forces and the Russian-backed Assad regime.

Ironically, Nicoson had been under consideration for a Bronze Star with valor device for his actions during the firefight until September of last year.

Now, it appears, the US Army is potentially making an example of him.

Nicoson’s lawyer, Phillip Stackhouse, stated that the charges are based on a “very thin” inquiry conducted by the Army Criminal Investigation Command. Furthermore, Stackhouse has not been able to review much of the investigation documentation.

According to the Stars and Stripes, Stackhouse has claimed that while the military accuses Nicoson of putting the entire platoon at risk by going somewhere they should not have been and threatening Syrian forces before the fight began.

However, Stackhouse noted that while “They [the Army] want to hold him accountable for coming within 2 kilometers of a checkpoint,” Stackhouse was in the rear of the convoy.

The platoon commander involved, who was at the front of the column, only received a general officer memorandum of reprimand and is not facing charges.

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