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IS conflict: Coalition strikes on Raqqa 'killed 1,600 civilians'

Image copyrightReuters Image captionAt the height of the battle for Raqqa, the coalition conducted some 1 50 air strikes a day                More than 1,600 civilians were killed in US-led coalition air and artillery strikes during the offensive to the Islamic State group from the Syrian city of Raqqa in 2017, activists say. Amnesty International and monitoring group Airwars said they It has acknowledged killing 318 civilians unintentionally in Raqqa. It has acknowledged killing 318 civilians unintentionally in Raqqa. ] Commanders say all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties were taken in those cases and the decisions to strike the law of armed conflict. Coalition states – including the US, UK and France – have conducted 34,000 strikes in Syria and neighboring Iraq since 2014, when IS militants overran large swaths of the two countries and imposed their brutal rule on almost eight million people. Last month, the coalition backed Syrian Democratic Forces captured the last pocket of land hero by the jihadists, bringing a formal end to their self-proclaimed "caliphate", whose de facto capital was Raqqa. Image copyrightReuters Image captionRaqqa was de facto capital of the "caliphate" the Islamic State group declared                 Amnesty and Airwars said that an unprecedented investigation had been reported as a direct result of US, UK and French air strikes and US artillery strikes carried out in Raqqa from June to October 2017 a support of a ground offensive by the SDF. Donatella Rovera, Amnesty's senior crisis response adviser, said that IS "snipers and mines had turned…

 Smoke rises from Raqqa, Syria, after an air strike (15 August 2017)

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

At the height of the battle for Raqqa, the coalition conducted some 1

50 air strikes a day

More than 1,600 civilians were killed in US-led coalition air and artillery strikes during the offensive to the Islamic State group from the Syrian city of Raqqa in 2017, activists say.

Amnesty International and monitoring group Airwars said they

It has acknowledged killing 318 civilians unintentionally in Raqqa.

It has acknowledged killing 318 civilians unintentionally in Raqqa. ] Commanders say all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties were taken in those cases and the decisions to strike the law of armed conflict.

Coalition states – including the US, UK and France – have conducted 34,000 strikes in Syria and neighboring Iraq since 2014, when IS militants overran large swaths of the two countries and imposed their brutal rule on almost eight million people.

Last month, the coalition backed Syrian Democratic Forces captured the last pocket of land hero by the jihadists, bringing a formal end to their self-proclaimed “caliphate”, whose de facto capital was Raqqa.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Raqqa was de facto capital of the “caliphate” the Islamic State group declared

Amnesty and Airwars said that an unprecedented investigation had been reported as a direct result of US, UK and French air strikes and US artillery strikes carried out in Raqqa from June to October 2017 a support of a ground offensive by the SDF.

Donatella Rovera, Amnesty’s senior crisis response adviser, said that IS “snipers and mines had turned into a death trap” but that “many of the [air] bombardments were inaccurate and tens of thousands of artillery strikes were indiscriminate, so it is no surprise they killed and injured many hundreds of civilians. “She added:” Coalition forces razed Raqqa, but they cannot erase the truth. “

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AFP

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Estimates of the number of casualties resulting from the battle vary

Amnesty and Airwars analyzed open source information, including thousands of social media posts, to build its database of the more than 1,600 civilian fatalities.

strike locations and interviews more than 400 witnesses and survivors.

They were able to directly verify the names of 641 victims, and were very strong multiple source reports for the rest, Amnesty said. also identified when each of the more than 11,000 destroyed buildings in Raqqa, with 3,000 digital activists from 124 countries analyzing more than two million satellite image frames.

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The clock tower roundabout in central Raqqa where IS performed several public executions

October 2017

 The clock tower roundabout in central Raqqa where IS performed several public executions

February y 2014

 The clock tower roundabout in central Raqqa before IS seized the city

Amnesty and Airwars said the coalition had admitted responsibility for 159 civilian deaths during the five-month offensive, but that it had dismissed many of their casual reports as “non-credible”

The coalition had failed to adequately investigate the reports because it did not carry out site visits or interview witnesses and survivors, the organizations added.

UN human rights experts said in a report last year that the battle for Raqqa was “market by violations committed by all sides and came to an extremely high cost to civilians”

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AFP

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The immense task of rebuilding the city may take years

A coalition spokesperson told the BBC: “Any unintentional loss of life during the defeat of [IS] is tragic. But must be balanced against the risk of enabling they choose. “

The coalition” methodically significant measures to minimize civilian casualties “and” always balances the risk of conducting a strike against the cost of not striking “.

The spokesperson insisted the coalition took all allegations of civilian casualties seriously and thorough assessments, but if there was not enough information or there was a coalition strike that matched the time and location then the allegation was closed.

“Amnesty International provided with 86 new allegations regarding Raqqa, 43 of which had already been assessed as credible and previously reported or were not credible because the allegation did not corroborate with our strike records, “the spokesperson said.

” We requested that International Amnesty provide us with additional information on the remaining 43 if it is available so that we would be able to determine whether we could conduct an investigation. “

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