Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Reuters & Agence France-Presse & Brett Wilkins / Digital Journal – 2017-05-21 00:19:23
US Airstrike Kills at Least
30 Syrian Civilians Near Iraq Border
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(May 15, 2017) — Adding to the growing civilian death toll caused by US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, the US overnight attacked the Syrian border town of Abu Kamal, along the key Iraqi border crossing, killing at least 30 civilians in the process.
The US carried out the strikes at 3:00 am, targeting a series of apartment buildings in the town’s residential area. Unsurprisingly, the apartments were full of sleeping civilians, and also unsurprisingly, blowing up the apartments killed a lot of them.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, ISIS is believed to have been using some of the apartments in the targeted area. There is, however, no sign that the apartments the US bombed contained any of the ISIS fighters in question.
This is the latest in a growing number of US strikes around Syria which have killed civilians, with reports of at least 87 civilians killed in the last five days from US and coalition strikes.
Abu Kamal is a hugely important strategic holding of ISIS, though its value has dropped somewhat since they lost most of their territory in Iraq’s Anbar Province. Still, it is along the main highway connecting Syria’s Deir Ezzor and Iraq, and has been contested by US-backed rebels intermittently, albeit unsuccessfully.
Airstrikes on ISIS in Syria Kill 30, Mostly Civilians
(May 15, 2017) — Dawn air strikes on a Syrian border town in the Islamic State-held eastern province of Deir al-Zor killed at least 30 people, most of them civilians including more than a dozen children, a war monitoring group said on Monday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said jets thought to belong to the US-led coalition hit the town of Al-Bukamal near the border with Iraq. They struck near a residential area and a mosque, wounding dozens more, the Britain-based monitor said.
The Islamic State-linked media outlet Amaq said coalition strikes killed 15 people and wounded 35 others in Al-Bukamal.
A spokesman for the US-led coalition against Islamic State did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Islamic State holds most of Deir al-Zor province, apart from an enclave at the center and a nearby air base controlled by Syrian government forces. The province links territory Islamic State militants control in Syria and Iraq.
The United States military has said it makes “extraordinary efforts” to avoid civilian deaths in its air strikes in Syria and Iraq.
US-led Coalition Strike Kills 30 in Syria: Monitor
BEIRUT (May 15, 2017) — An air strike by the US-led coalition killed at least 30 civilians Monday in a Syrian town held by the Islamic State group on the border with Iraq, a monitor said.
The deaths came after 12 women were killed in a strike by the US-led coalition fighting IS in the east of Syria’s Raqa province on Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Right said.
Monday’s strike hit the town of Albu Kamal in the early hours of the morning, Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.
“They hit a residential area at 3:00 am while people were sleeping, causing the high toll,” he said.
He said at least 30 civilians including 11 children and six women were killed, and that the toll could rise because of people trapped under debris. He added that IS was using some apartments in the area targeted as local headquarters.
The deaths came after 12 women were killed in a US-led coalition strike on Sunday. The Observatory said that strike hit vehicles carrying farmworkers home from fields in the afternoon.
IS has lost swathes of the territory it once held in Raqa province, though it still holds Raqa city and some areas to the east.
A US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces is battling towards Raqa city, the jihadist group’s most important remaining Syrian bastion.
The US military said in May that coalition strikes in Syria and Iraq had “unintentionally” killed 352 civilians since it launched operations against IS in 2014.
Rights groups say the actual figure is much higher.
87 Syrian Civilians Reportedly Killed in Latest US-led Strikes
Brett Wilkins / Digital Journal
(May 15, 2017) — US-led air strikes targeting Islamic State (IS) militants have killed scores of Syrian civilians in recent days, media and human rights monitor groups report. At least 87 civilians died in eight separate bombings reported between May 11-15 by international and local media, as well as by monitors including Airwars, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) and others.
In the deadliest reported incident, the Associated Press reports as many as 23 civilians died in an air strike likely carried out by US-led coalition warplanes in al-Bokamal, on the Iraqi border in Deir Ezzor province.
Monitors said the raid occurred around 3:00 a.m. on Monday, with SOHR reporting eight children and women among the dead. SOHR said the death toll is likely to further rise as victims’ bodies are recovered from the rubble.
CBS News reports between 12-23 civilians died in US-led coalition air strikes on the village of Akayrshi Sunday night. RBSS, which reported 22 civilian deaths in the bombing, said the strikes targeted a convoy of farm workers. SOHR said 12 women were among those killed.
On Friday, Airwars, RBSS, Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) and others reported 20 civilians — including five children — were killed in a US-led air strike on the al-Thaleth neighborhood of Raqqa city. Airwars published the names and ages of many of the victims, which ranged from a one-year-old toddler to a 78-year-old man.
On May 11, Euphrates Post reported five civilians died when the car in which they were traveling was hit by a suspected US-led coalition air strike in Quriya. Also on Thursday, Airwars, RBSS and others reported four members of a family were killed in a US air strike on Markada, al Hassakah province, while three other civilians died in a strike on Hamra Blassem in Raqqa province.
On May 12, an elderly man, his wife and his granddaughter died in a May 12 coalition strike in Tabaqa’s Third District. Also on May 12, RBSS reported at least seven civilians, many of them relatives from two families, died in likely coalition air strikes on al-Asadeya farm in Raqqa province.
On Friday, Digital Journalreported at least 50 Syrian civilians died, mostly in and around the de facto IS capital of Raqqa, in previous US-led air strikes between May 8-11. That article came just two days after DJ reported between 53 and 76 civilians killed, and as many as 95 others injured, in earlier May strikes.
US military officials claim everything is being done to minimize the number of innocent civilians killed or injured in coalition air strikes. However, the Pentagon does not investigate most reported civilian casualties attributed to US-led warplanes, and survivors in Syria and Iraq accuse the US military of lying about the number of civilians it kills.
According to the Pentagon, air strikes have killed 352 Syrian and Iraqi civilians since the US-led coalition intervened in the Syrian civil war in 2014. Airwars has reported between 3,294 and 5,281 civilian deaths in over 1,300 separate incidents attributed to the US-led coalition since the start of the anti-IS air campaign.
The vast majority of the more than 400,000 Syrians killed during the country’s six-year civil war have died at the hands of government troops loyal to longtime dynastic dictator Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Russia, Iran and the Shia militant group Hezbollah.
However, more than 15 years of continuous US-led war against Islamist militants throughout the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa have killed far more innocents, with estimates of the number of civilians killed in the seven nations attacked by US and allied forces ranging from the low hundreds of thousands to over 1.3 million.
There has been a surge in civilian deaths during the administration of Donald Trump, who infamously vowed to “bomb the shit” out of IS militants and “take out their families” — a war crime under the Geneva Convention.
Since the August 1945 nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, US military forces have killed more innocent foreign civilians than any other armed force in the world, by far.
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