Airstrikes leave 54 Iraqi, Syrian civilians dead since March: Washington

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Middle East
Friday, 02 December 2016

The so-called US-led coalition has killed more than 50 civilians during its air raids against what are said to be Daesh positions in Iraq and Syria.

In a Thursday statement, the US military admitted that some 54 civilians had lost their lives in its so-called anti-Daesh air raids between March 31 and October 22.

The newly-released figure brings to 173 the number of civilians that the US-led alliance has so far admitted to have killed since it began the aerial campaign in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

However, local officials and human rights groups have given a much higher death toll from the US-led air raids.

Airwars, a UK-based group of journalists and researchers, gave its own tally of civilian fatalities, saying the number of likely civilian deaths from coalition strikes stands at 1,915 at a bare minimum.

The US statement further claimed, “Although the coalition makes extraordinary efforts to strike military targets in a manner that minimizes the risk of civilian casualties, in some cases casualties are unavoidable.”

It added that in one aerial attack on July 18, as many as 24 civilians died near the Syrian city of Manbij.

This is while the Syrian Foreign Ministry said on July 20 that US and French aerial assaults had left some 140 civilians dead in just two days.

It sent a letter to the UN at the time, calling on the world body to condemn the deaths.

The letter denounced the “illegal” US-led airstrikes and the coalition for pointing their weapons at “innocent civilians and infrastructure, instead of pointing them at terrorist groups.”

In October, Amnesty International said 300 civilians had fallen victim to 11 attacks conducted by the Washington-led alliance since 2014, saying, “It’s high time the US authorities came clean about the full extent of the civilian damage caused by coalition attacks in Syria.”

The US and its allies in the coalition have so far failed to eliminate the terrorists in Iraq and Syria, raising questions about the true nature of their military intervention in the two Arab states.

On several occasions, the US-led air raids have even hampered domestic military operations against terror groups.

In September, a US-led airstrike hit a military base belonging to the Syrian army, leaving over 80 army troops dead and some 100 others wounded in the eastern part of the country. The raid helped Daesh terrorists make some gains in the area at the time.

In late September, the US-led fighter jets destroyed two bridges over Euphrates River in the eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr. The bridges were used by hundreds of thousands of civilians in the area.

Reacting to the raid, the Syrian Foreign Ministry later said the coalition intends to “destroy Syrian infrastructure and economic and social establishments through repeated aggressive acts.”

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