TeleSUR – 2015-05-26 01:03:55
US Admits for the First Time that Airstrikes Killed Syrian Children
(May 21, 2015) — The US has admitted for the first time that its airstrikes killed Syrian children. The US Admission comes after months of denials that any civilians had been killed by its operations in either Syria or Iraq. The United States Defense Department admitted on Thursday that previous airstrikes in Syria had killed two children. This marks the first time that the US acknowledges civilian casualties by its campaign in Syria against the Islamic State group.
“We regret the unintentional loss of lives,” said Lieutenant General James Terry, head of the US-led campaign. The two children died during a strike on 5-6 November, near Harim City, which targeted the al-Qaida-linked Khorasan Group. The number of dead children during that airstrike is believed to be higher.
Chris Woods, the founder of Airwars, a not-for-profit transparency project aimed at tracking and archiving the international air war against the Islamic State group, said that last Novemberâ€™s attack have killed up to four children.
“The facts have been in the public domain for six months,” Woods was quoted as saying by The Guardian. “I canâ€™t see a conceivable benefit to waiting six months to confirm this.”
Rights groups and monitors in Syria say that the number of civilian casualties since the start of the US-led coalition against the radical group is significantly high. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday that 131 civilians had been killed in coalition air strikes since September, including 42 children.
The US and its allies have conducted thousands of airstrikes against the group since September. However, some argue that the strategy is not inflicting significant damage on the Islamic States group. On Wednesday, the group overran the Syrian city of Palmyra, where it has reportedly begun massacring the tribal rebels there and seems to be planning to sack the cityâ€™s ancient ruins.
US Coalition ‘Massacres’ Civilians in Syria Airstrike
(May 2, 2015) A human rights group has accused the US-led coalition of killing dozens of civilians in a single airstrike in northern Syria. Fifty-two civilians were killed in an airstrike carried out by a US-led coalition Saturday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
“We in SOHR condemn in the strongest terms this massacre committed by the U.S led coalition under the pretext of targeting the IS in the village, and we call the coalition countries to refer who committed this massacre to the courts,” SOHR stated. Seven children are among the dead, after coalition airstrikes bombarded the village of Bermahli in northern Syria according to the monitoring group.
SOHR said the death toll is “likely” to rise, stating at least 13 civilians are still missing. Bermahli sits near the Islamic State group’s frontlines with Kurdish militias, though SOHR stated there are no militant positions within the village itself. “Bermahli is only civilians, with no (Islamic State group) positions and no clashes,” SOHR head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
The monitoring group added that “all parties” in Syria’s civil war must refrain from targeting civilian areas. The US-led coalition has been bombarding the Islamic State group in Syria since September 2014.
Syria’s president Bashar Assad initially opposed any Western interference in Syria’s civil war, but in late August 2014, his government announced it was willing to accept US airstrikes against the Islamic State group. The sudden change came just hours after the Islamic State group overran the government’s last military outpost in Raqqa province.
The defeat was a major loss for Assad’s forces and cemented the Islamic State group’s control over the province. The provincial capital of Raqqa city is now the de facto capital of the Islamic State group’s self declared caliphate, and one of the main targets of US -led airstrikes.
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