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23 Aug, 2017 11:21

‘Since 2001, US has renormalized the bombing of civilian areas’

‘Since 2001, US has renormalized the bombing of civilian areas’

The presence of a few combatants in a civilian area does not change the nature of that area. It is a still a civilian area, says Nicolas Davies, author of Blood On Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.

The UN is raising the alarm over reports of mass civilian deaths in US coalition air strikes in the Syrian city of Raqqa.

Syria's SANA news agency says 78 people were killed on Tuesday.

“Our humanitarian colleagues tell us they are deeply concerned by unconfirmed reports of a high number of civilians killed by airstrike in Raqqa city over the last 24 hours,” Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, told reporters at a daily briefing Tuesday.

RT: So far the Pentagon has not acknowledged the latest civilian deaths in Raqqa. Do you expect the US to take responsibility for what is happening?

Nicolas Davies: No, they are not taking responsibility for the true scale of civilian casualties in any of these operations. Iraqi-Kurdish intelligence reports have estimated the number of civilians killed in Mosul at about 40,000. That is the first serious estimate we have from any quasi-official sources as revealed by Hoshyar Zebari, who was the foreign minister of Iraq for eleven years. You contrast that with what the US military has acknowledged in terms of civilian casualties and its bombing of Iraq and Syria since 2014, it talks in hundreds. In June, it acknowledged at least 484 civilians killed since 2014 by 80 or 90,000 bombs and missiles dropped by the US and its partners. This huge discrepancy between any serious estimates of civilian deaths, and the kind of figures put out by the US and by the UN in Afghanistan and Yemen, this huge discrepancy amounts to an effort by the US to cover up the scale of civilian casualties in the entire so-called war on terror since 2001. This cannot be some sort of oversight or difference of opinion between allies. Essentially, what the US has done in the last 16 years has been to re-normalize the bombing of cities.

There has been very vociferous noise coming out of Raqqa saying that the bombing has been very intense and the damage has been extreme. For the UN to say that is quite rare, so there must be evidence on the ground suggesting that more than 100 civilians have been killed in two-three days and the Americans must investigate and in the future coordinate airstrikes properly as part of the de-escalation zones. - Military analyst Kamal Alam, to RT

Going back to Guernica in Spain in the 1930s or the bombing of cities in WWII. The world as always recoiled from this kind of bombing of civilian targets. Let’s be clear – a city is a civilian target. In 2007, the UN spoke more forcefully to the US authorities in a human rights report on Iraq, and it said very clearly the bombing of civilian areas is a violation of international human rights law. And that the presence of a few combatants in a civilian area does not change the nature of that area, it is a still a civilian area.

And I think many [of your viewers] have seen video of Mosul at the end of this bombing campaign, or of other cities like Kobani, Fallujah, Sirt in Libya – that have simply been reduced to rubble by US bombing and artillery fire. In the case of Mosul, both French and Iraqi artillery fire 155-millimeter and 122-millimeter howitzers.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.