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30 Aug, 2018 17:38

US-led coalition admits 1,061 civilians killed in Iraq & Syria strikes in latest death toll

US-led coalition admits 1,061 civilians killed in Iraq & Syria strikes in latest death toll

New figures released by the US-led coalition bombing Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria say that at least 1,061 civilians have been killed. This is still several times lower than data collected by rights groups.

In its monthly casualty report published on Thursday, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) assessed that “at least 1,061 civilians have been unintentionally killed by coalition strikes since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve.”

Some 216 reports are still pending review. Of the last 18 reviews carried out, 15 death reports were deemed not credible and only three were accepted.

Meanwhile, several rights groups are maintaining that the civilian casualties caused by the strikes are much higher. Airwars, a UK-based non-profit which collaborates with regionally focused monitoring groups, attributes at least 6,575 civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria to the coalition.

The group assessed that “between 75 and 119 non-combatants likely died in coalition actions in July,” as it targeted the last remaining pockets of IS fighters remaining in eastern Syria.

In its own monthly assessment published on Wednesday, Airwars researchers tracked more than 750 reported events that caused civilian casualties this year, in which up to 3,700 civilians are alleged to have died.

The death toll has also been challenged by Amnesty International, which said that the coalition was “deeply in denial” about the “large number of civilians killed and injured by [its] strikes.

“Its monthly reports on civilian casualties across Iraq and Syria rely on vague descriptions and dismiss the vast majority of allegations as ‘non-credible,’” Amnesty added.

A report published by the group in June on the coalition’s campaign to “liberate” Raqqa from Islamic State assessed that its “precision air campaign allowed it to bomb IS out of Raqqa while causing very few civilian casualties do not stand up to scrutiny.”

Commencing in August 2014, the coalition has conducted a total of 29,920 strikes against Islamic State targets in parts of Iraq and Syria up until the end of July this year.

The coalition’s air raids in Iraq are coordinated with the Iraqi government. In Syria, however, they are unauthorized, as neither Damascus nor the UN Security Council having given them the green light.

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