Report Faults Lack of US Transparency in Anti-ISIS Airstrikes
December 13, 2016
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & The Daily Star (Lebanon)
A report released by Airwars, a London-based project aimed at tracking the US-led coalition's airstrikes targeting ISIS, criticized the coalition's lack of transparency when assessing civilian casualties. While US officials have acknowledged that 173 civilians have died in coalition airstrikes since the launch of the campaign against Daesh in the summer of 2014, the Airwars group says the number of civilian casualties is much greater: at least 1,500.
Report Faults Lack of US
Transparency in Anti-ISIS Airstrikes
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(December 12, 2016) -- London-based monitoring group Airwars has issued a new report on the US and coalition airstrikes against ISIS, faulting the US for its lack of transparency in the strikes, and in particularly the "opaque, ad hoc, and significantly biased" handling of reports of civilian casualties.
US figures on civilians killed in the air war in Iraq and Syria tend to be many months behind, and even then dramatically underreported, often ignoring or offering wild undercounts of incidents that were highly publicized at the time and well known.
The result of this is that the US has acknowledged a total of 173 civilian deaths in the course of the air war, with their figures starting in 2014 and going up to the summer of 2016. Airwars own monitoring has put the figure at a minimum of 1,500 civilians killed.
This is a huge difference, of course, but exactly how it got there isn't hard to see, with the US refusing to carry out investigations into the vast majority of reports of civilian deaths, arguing that they don't think the claims are "credible."
A glaring recent incident was the July 18 airstrikes north of Manbij, Syria, in which the Syrian Observatory reported 56 civilians killed initially, and other groups later said the toll had risen to around 200.
The US didn't even mention the incident in their November report, but finally got around to it in December. Even then, their final report said "up to 24" were killed.
Back in July the US insisted they mistook the fleeing Manbij civilians for ISIS, and myriad other such incidents (like mistaking a granary full of grain for an ISIS headquarters) have been reported, but it is rare indeed for them to make their way into official government figures, and if they do, the final toll can be expected to have been shaved down to a bare minimum.
Lack of Transparency in Daesh Fight
The Daily Star (Lebanon)
BAGHDAD (December 13, 2016) -- A report released Monday by Airwars, a London-based project aimed at tracking the US-led coalition's airstrikes targeting Daesh (ISIS), criticized the coalition's lack of transparency when assessing civilian casualties.
While US officials have acknowledged that 173 civilians have died in coalition airstrikes since the launch of the campaign against Daesh in the summer of 2014, the Airwars group says the number of civilian casualties is much greater: at least 1,500.
The Airwars project said the discrepancy in the numbers of acknowledged civilian casualties is partially due to how civilian deaths are investigated, assessments carried out by the coalition are "opaque, ad hoc, and significantly biased toward internal military reporting," the group said.
The coalition has been repeatedly criticized for the slow pace of investigations into civilian casualties in the fight against Daesh. The coalition has carried out more than 16,500 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Daesh since the fight against the militant group was launched in 2014.
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