Syrian woman observes strikes by the international coalition on ISIS positions in Kobane city, near the Turkish border. File photo
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Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan – U.S.-led coalition’s airstrikes targeting locations held by the Islamic State group (IS/ISIS) in Syria and Iraq caused the death of 459 civilians over the past year, the independent monitoring group Airwars said in a report on Monday.
Airwars, a monitoring group that tracks international airstrikes against extremists, reported that civilian death tolls were documented in “57 specific strikes” by the U.S.-led international coalition, adding that the strikes have so far killed more than 15,000 IS militants in Syria and Iraq.
“Almost all claims of noncombatant deaths from alleged coalition strikes emerge within 24 hours – with graphic images of reported victims often widely disseminated,” the monitoring group said.
“In this context, the present coalition policy of downplaying or denying all claims of noncombatant fatalities makes little sense, and risks handing the Islamic State group and other forces a powerful propaganda tool.”
“The coalition’s war against ISIL has inevitably caused civilian casualties, certainly far more than the two deaths Centcom presently admits to,” Airwars reported.
The international coalition started airstrikes on IS positions in Iraq on August 8. In Syria, the coalition started its operations against the radical group on September 23. So far, more than 5,800 airstrikes have been conducted by the U.S.-led forces on IS tactical units and fighting positions in both countries.
“Yet it’s also clear that in this same period, many more civilians have been killed by Syrian and Iraqi government forces, by Islamic State and by various rebel and militia groups operating on both sides of the border.”
Airwars monitoring group demanded members of the anti-IS coalition to be more transparent in terms of raids, “as each member is individually liable for any civilian deaths or injuries it causes”, adding that only Canada has consistently stated when and where it conducts airstrikes.
Reporting by: Eyaz Ciziri