According to a new report issued by an independent conflict monitoring group, the US-led bombing campaign waged in 2017 to ‘liberate’ the Syrian city of Raqqa from the Islamic State (ISIS), ended up killing more than 1,600 civilians – a figure that is 10 times as high as the number of dead claimed by the US-led coalition.
These numbers are according to reports submitted by Amnesty International, and Airwars, a London-based conflict monitoring group formed in 2014 to study the impact of the US-led air campaigns against target nations. After 18 months of researching civilian deaths, including two months on the ground in Raqqa, the group have finally released their findings, and are urging that the US-led coalition “end almost two years of denial” about the true death tolls resulting from their bombing runs in Syria, and Iraq.
“Our conclusive finding after all this is that the US-led coalition’s military offensive [US, UK and French forces] directly caused more than 1,600 civilian deaths in Raqqa,” said researchers.
Previously, US officials downplayed, and were likely lying – about having taken “great care to avoid civilian casualties” and also made the erroneous claims that they investigate any accusations regarding their lack of precision when seeking out their alleged “ISIS targets.”
Back in 2017, a spokesperson for US CENTCOM told UK newspaper The Independent, “The Coalition takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously and assesses all credible allegations of possible civilian casualties. Coalition forces work diligently and deliberately to be precise in our airstrikes.”
They added, “Coalition forces comply with the law of armed conflict and take all reasonable precautions during the planning and execution of airstrikes to reduce the risk of harm to civilians.”
“The Coalition respects human life and is assisting partner forces in their effort to liberate their land from Isis while safeguarding civilians. Our goal is always for zero civilian casualties.”
Those statements now appear to be patently false, based on the review of the new data and a lack of any visible due diligence by the Pentagon. More crucially, for the last 2 years, the western mainstream media never seriously challenged any of the US military’s spotty claims, nor were the media interested in mounting any investigation into what now appears to be bona fide international war crimes.
Since 2014, an international coalition led by the US have been giving military support to both the Iraqi government and their own illegal paramilitary creation a Syrian, a Kurdish-led confab called the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF), who managed to re-captured Raqqa in late 2017 after a five-month air bombing campaign led by the US.
It was known by Amnesty last year that evidence existed that the US-led coalition’s air and artillery strikes in Raqqa had violated international law by killing civilians in large numbers, but no major estimate was given until now.
Reprinted with permission from 21st Century Wire.