News ID: 265628
Published: 0234 GMT February 14, 2020

US-led coalition admits killing at least 1,370 civilians in Syria, Iraq

US-led coalition admits killing at least 1,370 civilians in Syria, Iraq
Hadi Mizban/AP

The US-led coalition in Iraq and Syria has killed at least 1,370 civilians since the start of its military operations in 2014, Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) said in its monthly civilian casualty report on Thursday.

"The coalition conducted 34,763 strikes between August 2014 and the end of December 2019. During this period, based on information available, CJTF-OIR assesses at least 1,370 civilians have been unintentionally killed by coalition actions since the beginning of Operation Inherent Resolve," Sputnik quoted the report as saying.

The coalition emphasized its commitment to adhere the Law of Armed Conflict and avoid collateral damage. "It will remain our goal to take all feasible precautions to avoid putting civilians in danger in our pursuit of a ruthless enemy," it said.

In December 2019, CJTF-OIR investigated 82 open reports from previous months and received 41 new reports of civilian casualties.

"Out of the 45 completed casualty allegation reports, three reports were determined to be credible and resulted in 11 unintentional civilian deaths," the monthly report said.

Another 41 reports were determined to be non-credible and one was a duplicate of a previous report, the coalition added.

Seventy-nine reports are still open, including three that CJTF-OIR had previously closed but reopened due to the availability of new information, the coalition said.

The NGO Airwars estimates that the US-led coalition has killed as many as 13,159 civilians in its military operations in Iraq and Syria.

The international coalition was formed in 2014 after the Daesh terror group captured vast territories in Iraq and Syria. The coalition's actions in Syria have not been authorized by the Syrian government or the UN Security Council.

The war in Syria has claimed more than 370,000 lives and created 5.6 million refugees since the terrorists first took arms after anti-government protests erupted in 2011.

Now that the conflict has wound down and the government forces have regained control over most of the country from terrorists, the priority is now being given to political settlement and the return of refugees.

The number of American forces in Iraq has remained small due to political sensitivities in the country, after years of what Iraqis consider as US occupation following its 2003 invasion of the Arab country under the pretext of fighting weapons of mass destruction.

The US currently has more than 5,000 forces in Iraq, under an agreement between the two countries. The US pulled its troops out of Iraq in 2011 when combat operations there ended, but they went back in after the Daesh began to take over large swathes of the country in 2014.

After the Iraqi government announced victory against Daesh in 2017, calls for an American troop withdrawal increased amid concerns about America's long-term intentions, particularly after it withdraws its troops from Syria.



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