Between 1000 to 9,600 Iraqi, Syrian civilians killed by US-led coalition

31st Aug 2018
Between 1000 to 9,600 Iraqi, Syrian civilians killed by US-led coalition

By Muayyad al-Tarfi

BAGHDAD (AA): A U.S.-led military coalition admitted Thursday that more than 1,000 civilians in Iraq and Syria had been killed by coalition airstrikes since the alliance was established four years ago to fight the Daesh terrorist group. However, in May, UK based monitoring group, AIrways, said in a report that US-led coalition has killed as many as 9,600 civilians.

According to a coalition report released Thursday, the alliance has carried out some 30,000 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since Daesh overran vast swathes of both countries in mid-2014.

The report goes on to assert that at least 1,061 civilians in both countries were “unintentionally” killed as a direct result of the strikes.

American, British and Coalition officials have repeatedly stressed the accuracy of their own weaponry and the care taken by their operators to minimise civilian harm. “There has been no military in the world’s history that has paid more attention to limiting civilian casualties and the deaths of innocents on the battlefield than the coalition military,” said US Defense Secretary, James Mattis, in August 2017, shortly after the fall of Mosul, where thousands were nevertheless credibly reported killed.

Responding to Airwars reporting the following month, outgoing Coalition Commander Lt.G Stephen J. Townsend repeated this mantra, writing: “I challenge anyone to find a more precise air campaign in the history of warfare.”

A review of the type and quantity of weapons fired in large urban areas including Mosul, Raqqa, Eastern Ghouta and Aleppo – coupled with reported non combatant harm on the ground – is illustrative, and offers significant clues to the rise in urban civilian casualties that is under consideration in Parliament. Since 2014, Airwars estimates that the Coalition is likely responsible for between 6,250 and 9,600 civilian deaths overall in the war against ISIS, out of more than 25,000 civilian fatalities alleged locally by Iraqis and Syrians. Of those likely reported deaths, more than half took place either in the vicinity of Mosul or of Raqqa.

Though there are no reliable official fatality estimates for the battle for Mosul – a serious failure on the part of both the Iraqi government and the Coalition – an extensive survey involving mortuary records carried out by the Associated Press arrived at an estimated minimum total of between 9,000 and 11,000 civilians killed by all parties, at least a third due to Coalition or Iraqi attacks.

The size of ammunition used may have undermined key benefits of so-called smart bomb technologies. Deployed in densely-populated areas, they caused devastating effect.

Russia has been cited by local monitors for at least 7,000 civilian deaths in Syria – with some estimates as high as 11,000. Tracking Russian strikes is burdensome and at times inconclusive because they operate in the same spaces as Syrian Government jets, sometimes in tandem, sometimes separately. The Government also operates Russian-made jets, adding  to the confusion.

Comprised of 60 countries, the coalition was drawn up in 2014 with the ostensible aim of helping the Iraqi government fight the notorious terrorist group.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Archive photo: Smoke rises from Daesh positions after US-led coalition airstrike over east of Bashiqa town in Mosul on 7 November 2016. Photographer: Hemn Baban/AA]

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