AntiWar.com & MiddleEastEye – 2017-05-27 00:45:34
US Is Killing More Civilians in Syria Air War Than Assad Is
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(May 26, 2017) — Exemplified by the hundred and some odd people they’ve killed in the last 48 hours, the US is struggling mightily with the narrative that they are taking extraordinary care to limit the number of civilian casualties in the air war in Syria, and are rapidly losing any pretense of a moral high ground.
Indeed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is noting that the soaring death toll from US airstrikes has now surpassed the civilian toll of the Assad government’s own airstrikes, which the US and other Western nations have condemned as indiscriminate and irresponsible.
Oftentimes, US officials have been so outraged at Syria’s “indiscriminate” air strikes that they’ve demanded regime change, and has railed at Russia and Iran for tolerating their tactics in bombing civilian targets. Obviously, the US never sees the same problem with its own massive killings.
That’s probably because officially, they don’t even recognize the overwhelming majority of the civilian deaths they cause, as the Pentagon’s official death toll for the air war in Iraq and Syria omits virtually all major incidents, and tends to be at most 10% of the toll reported by NGOs.
US Bombs East Syria Village
Second Day in a Row,
More than 115 Civilians Killed
(May 25, 2017) — Just a day after they bombed a village in the Mayadeen area, near the ISIS capital of Raqqa, US warplanes launched yet more airstrikes, and once again the indications out of the area is that everyone slain in the attacks was a civilian, bringing the two-day toll in excess of 115.
Today’s bombings, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, killed at least 80 civilians, overwhelmingly women and children. The slain were said to include “relatives” of ISIS fighters, including both Syrians and Moroccans. The other nine civilians were just locals, including five children.
There has been no official statement from the Pentagon on either of the two days of strikes, and no indication on why the US attacked the village, apart from it being sort of close to Raqqa, and the US has been launching a lot of airstrikes around the outskirts of Raqqa, nominally in support of the Kurdish YPG’s advances.
The US has been killing a soaring number of civilians in airstrikes in recent months, occasionally admitting to incidents, but generally keeping up the pretense of “enormous care” taken to not kill even more. While the Pentagon insists targeting rules have not been relaxed, the soaring death toll is clearly raising doubts about US policy.
That today’s attack killed a lot of ISIS family members is likely to add to questions, particularly as President Trump openly advocated killing family members of terrorists as part of the war, complaining that the lack of family killing amounted to a “very politically correct war.” That’s one thing President Trump won’t be accused of, given the number of civilians he’s having killed.
US Air Strike Kills at Least 80 Sivilians in Syria
As UN Condemns Rising Death Toll
(May 25, 2017) — A US-led coalition air strike on the eastern Syrian town of Mayadeen early on Friday killed at least 80 relatives of Islamic State group fighters, including 33 children, a monitoring group told AFP.
“The toll includes 33 children. They were families seeking refuge in the town’s municipal building,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Earlier on Friday, the UN human rights chief called on all air forces operating in Syria to take greater care to distinguish between legitimate military targets and civilians in their escalating air strikes.
A separate air strike late on Thursday evening killed at least 35 civilians.
“The rising toll of civilian deaths and injuries already caused by air strikes in Deir Ezzor and Al-Raqqa suggests that insufficient precautions may have been taken in the attacks,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in a statement, stressing that extra caution should be taken in the campaign in the northeast against the Islamic State group.
His spokesman Rupert Colville told a Geneva briefing: “There are multiple air forces operating in this part of Syria including the (US-led) coalition, mainly the coalition. We also understand that there are Iraqi airplanes as well.”
“I can’t begin to identify who is responsible,” he added.
Air strikes in mid-May killed nearly two dozen farmworkers, most of them women, in a village in eastern Raqqa and at least 59 civilians in residential areas of Deir Ezzor, Zeid said.
A spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State told Reuters that its forces had conducted strikes near Mayadeen on 25 and 26 May and were assessing the results. The Thursday evening air strike in Mayadeen killed at least 35 civilians, including family members of Islamic State fighters, said the Observatory.
Most air raids against IS strongholds along the Euphrates basin in Syria have been conducted by a US-led coalition and by Syrian and Russian jets.
In Two Says, Scores Dead
Iraqi warplanes have also carried out at least one air raid in east Syria. The deaths bring the total number of people killed in two days of aerial bombardment in Mayadeen to 115 said the monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,
Residents saw reconnaissance aircraft and warplanes circling the city at 7.25pm local time before they fired missiles, which struck two buildings, one of which was a four-storey block housing Syrian and Moroccan families of Islamic State fighters.
Islamic State is losing ground in both Syria and Iraq under assault from an array of sometimes rival forces in both countries. Many of its fighters who have retreated from other fronts are amassing in Syria’s Euphrates basin area.
Between 23 April and 23 May the Observatory reported that at least 225 civilians had been killed in strikes by the US-led coalition and 146 had been killed by Syrian government aircraft.
The US-led coalition says it is careful to avoid civilian casualties in air strikes and investigates any that are reported to have taken place. Russia and Syria’s government both deny targeting civilians.
On Thursday, the US confirmed that one of its air strikes against IS in Mosul in March killed at least 105 civilians.
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