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Over 1,600 civilians killed by US-led forces in Raqqa

31st May 2019
Over 1,600 civilians killed by US-led forces in Raqqa

Ruins of downtown Raqqa,n July 12, 2017 (Photo: Mahmoud Bali/VOA/WikiCommons)

Hamed Chapman

The US-led coalition in Syria, which includes the UK, France and others, killed more than 1,600 civilians in the city of Raqqa during its military campaign against the Daesh terror group in 2017, according to Amnesty International and London-based monitoring group, Airwars.

An interactive website developed by the human rights groups, entitled ‘Rhetoric Versus Reality: How the Most Precise Air Campaign In History Left Raqqa The Most Destroyed City In Modern Times,’ reported that between June and October 2017, the coalition launched thousands of air and artillery strikes to support rebel Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are closely affiliated with the Kurdish YPG/PKK terror group.

The claim by the coalition to have taken all necessary measures to spare civilians, was just rhetoric and “a far cry from reality” as it did not coincide with the facts on the ground for the civilians who were slaughtered during the military campaign, it said, urging the US-led forces to take responsibility for the killing of large numbers of civilians who were trapped between Daesh snipers and landmines and coalition attacks.

According to the website, the coalition conducted indiscriminate strikes in residential neighbourhoods of the city, whereas former US Defence Secretary, James Mattis, defined the anti-Daesh alliance as “good guys” who took many chances to avoid civilian casualties “at all costs.”

Just one civilian was harmed in RAF air strikes the UK Government has claimed. The RAF carried out some 216 air strikes in and around Raqqa, many in densely populated neighbourhoods. British forces made repeated use of the Paveway IV, a 500lb bomb, which would have caused significant damage.

The website pointed out that the coalition strikes led to the decimation of entire families, referring to one tragic incident where four families sheltering in the basement of a five-story building were hit by air strikes, leaving at least 32 dead, including 20 children.

The website stated that the coalition admitted killing 159 civilians in Raqqa – barely 10 per cent of the real number, noting it must take responsibility for the deaths of all civilians. Amnesty and Airwars urged the coalition to make public all relevant information, set up an independent and impartial mechanism to investigate the matter and create a fund to help the families of the deceased.

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