Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Rudaw News – 2016-05-26 00:48:47
Watchdog: Over 400 Civilians Killed in US Airstrikes on Syria
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(May 24, 2016) — A new summary of casualties from the US-led coalition airstrikes against Syria by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that since September of 2014, the strikes have killed nearly 4,900 people, mostly ISIS but also including 417 civilians.
The observatory’s numbers put the overall civilian deaths at 417, with 111 of them children under the age of 18, and at least 70 women. That the majority slain were adult men reflects several strikes hitting factories or other businesses that were mistaken for militant targets.
That’s ten times as many civilians as the Pentagon has confirmed killing over the course of the entire war, and the Pentagon’s figures cover both Iraq and Syria, whereas the Syrian Observatory numbers are only the Syrian side of the war, the part that’s been going on for less time and has seen less overall coalition strikes.
The Pentagon has, generally speaking, dismissed reports of civilian deaths in airstrikes as “not credible,” even as they loosen the rules of engagement to allow planes to deliberately attack targets in which civilians are likely to be present.
Coalition Airstrikes Kill Over 400 Civilians in Syria
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (May 24, 2016) — Nearly 4900 people, including more than 400 civilians, have been killed in US-led coalition airstrikes in Syria during 20 months of operations.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has been closely monitoring the situation in Syria. In numbers released Tuesday, they state that, between dawn on September 23, 2014 and dawn on May 23, 2016, 4885 people have been killed in coalition airstrikes.
“Among the total casualty there are 417 civilian Syrian citizen, including 111 person under the age of eighteen, and 70 citizen women over the age of eighteen,” SOHR reported.
Of the nearly 4900 killed, 3412 were members of the Islamic State, “the majority of them are not Syrians.” In addition, 136 fighters from the al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra and 10 fighters from Jaysh al-Sunna were killed by coalition forces.
The US-led coalition against the Islamic State in Syria includes Australia, Bahrain, France, the Netherlands, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States. Canada was involved but ceased its airstrikes in Syria and Iraq in March of this year, opting to focus on training and other support assistance. It is estimated that the number of civilian deaths in airstrikes in both Syria and Iraq is more than 1000.
The United States has stated that it takes civilian deaths very seriously and investigates every allegation, no matter the source.
“We take all allegations of civilian casualties seriously, and we apply very rigorous standards in our targeting process to avoid or to minimize civilian casualties in the first place,” said a US Central Command (CENTCOM) media officer last December.
SOHR condemned the airstrikes hitting civilians noting that, in addition to killing hundreds of civilians, millions have been displaced. “[T]he international community continues to stay in silence regarding the Syrian people and their pain and hopes of reaching a country of justice, equality, democracy and freedom.”
These figures do not include casualties from Syrian regime or Russian airstrikes. Airwars, a monitoring organization, believes Russian airstrikes have killed over 2000 civilians. Estimates for civilian casualties from regime airstrikes are also high; Damascus has been accused of deliberately targeting civilians.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights has reported that they regime was responsible for more than 10,000 civilian deaths in 2015 alone.
Pentagon Claims Only 20 Civilians Killed in Iraq, Syria Strikes Since September
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(April 22, 2016) — For a long time in the US air war against ISIS, the Pentagon was blanketly denying all civilian deaths in their attacks. After conceding to only 21 over the course of the entire war up to September, today Central Command confirmed another 20 killed since then.
This is, of course, a massive undercount, with rights groups reporting nearly 500 civilians killed in US strikes just through August of last year, and more happening all the time. Conspicuously, the new report didn’t include any of the civilians killed in a pair of attacks targeting physical cash in Mosul, even though the Pentagon had previously confirmed an undisclosed number of killings in those cases.
Even more galling, CENTCOM spokesman Col. Patrick Ryder presented the increasing number of civilians being killed by American warplanes as proof of how “cowardly” ISIS is, even though it is well documented that the Pentagon has repeatedly loosened the rules of engagement to allow them to deliberately attack areas they know civilians to be in.
In most cases, the Pentagon has unilaterally dismissed reports of civilian casualties in airstrikes as “not credible,” even in cases when those reports were documented by human rights groups and included corroboration from multiple sources.
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