Over 3,300 Syrian civilians killed in US-led airstrikes: report

Over 3,300 Syrian civilians killed in US-led airstrikes: report
Washington puts the toll at just over 1,000, but rights groups say the artificially low number of deaths is due to poor reporting procedures.
2 min read
23 September, 2018
An airborne US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II in Adana, Turkey [Getty]
More than 3,300 Syrian civilians have been killed over the last four years in US-led air strikes targeting the Islamic State group, a monitor said on Sunday. 

The Washington-led alliance puts the toll at just over 1,000 civilians in both Syria and neighbouring Iraq, and says it does all it can to prevent civilian deaths.

The coalition began bombing IS targets in Iraq in August 2014 after the jihadist group seized swathes of territory straddling the two countries, proclaiming an Islamic "caliphate".

The coalition extended its strikes to Syria on September 23, 2014.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said on Sunday those Syria strikes had since killed 3,331 civilians.

The monitor relies on a network of sources inside Syria and tracks flight patterns, aircraft involved and ammunition used to determine who carries out raids.

"Among those killed are 826 children and 615 women," said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman.

In its latest civilian casualty report published last month, the coalition said its strikes had unintentionally killed 1,061 civilians in both Iraq and Syria up until 30 July, 2018.

It is still assessing a further 216 reports of civilian casualties, some of them in strikes dating back to 2014.

"As far any discrepancy in numbers, the coalition is basing the findings on facts and evidence. We are not claiming to provide exact numbers, but saying it is based on the best available evidence," spokesman Sean Ryan told AFP.

Rights groups have criticised the coalition for not pursuing investigations of civilian casualties rigorously enough.

In June, Amnesty International said the coalition's bombing raids of IS's de facto Syrian capital Raqqa last year may amount to "potential war crimes".

"The artificially low number of civilian casualties the coalition acknowledges stems in part from poor investigation procedures that fail even to involve on-the-ground research," it said at the time.

The coalition's operations have largely wound down, with the jihadists ousted from all but tiny bits of territory in Syria.

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