News ID: 123839
Published: 0803 GMT August 03, 2015

Report: Many civilians killed in US-led strikes in Iraq, Syria

Report: Many civilians killed in US-led strikes in Iraq, Syria

US-led airstrikes targeting the ISIL terrorist group in Iraq and Syria likely have killed hundreds of civilians, a report by an independent monitoring group said Monday.

The report by Airwars, a project aimed at tracking the international airstrikes targeting the terrorists, said it believed 57 specific strikes killed at least 459 civilians and caused 48 suspected "friendly fire" deaths. The coalition had no immediate comment, AP reported.

While Airwars noted the difficulty of verifying information in territory held by the ISIL, which has beheaded journalists and shot dead activists, other groups have reported similar casualties from the US-led airstrikes.

"Almost all claims of noncombatant deaths from alleged coalition strikes emerge within 24 hours — with graphic images of reported victims often widely disseminated," the report said. "In this context, the present coalition policy of downplaying or denying all claims of noncombatant fatalities makes little sense, and risks handing the ISIL and other forces a powerful propaganda tool."

The US launched airstrikes in Iraq on Aug. 8 and in Syria on Sept. 23 to target the ISIL terrorist group.

A coalition of countries later joined to help allied ground forces in both countries defeat the terrorists. To date, the coalition has launched more than 5,800 airstrikes in both countries. So far, the US only has acknowledged killing two civilians in its strikes; two children who were likely slain during an American airstrike targeting Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in Syria last year. That same strike also wounded two adults, according to an investigation released in May by the US military.

Airwars said it identified the 57 strikes through reporting from "two or more generally credible sources, often with biographical, photographic or video evidence." The strikes also corresponded to confirmed coalition strikes conducted in the area at that time, it said.

Other groups also have reported on major casualties suspected of being caused by the US-led airstrikes. The so-called Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which documents the Syrian conflict through a network of activists on the ground, said 173 Syrian civilians have been killed since airstrikes began.




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