U.S.-led air strikes targeting Islamic State (IS) militants have killed scores of Syrian civilians in recent days, media and human rights monitor groups report.
At least 87 civilians died in eight separate bombings reported between May 11-15 by international and local media, as well as by monitors including Airwars, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) and others. In the deadliest reported incident, the Associated Press reports as many as 23 civilians died in an air strike likely carried out by U.S.-led coalition warplanes in al-Bokamal, on the Iraqi border in Deir Ezzor province. Monitors said the raid occurred around 3:00 a.m. on Monday, with SOHR reporting eight children and women among the dead. SOHR said the death toll is likely to further rise as victims’ bodies are recovered from the rubble.
CBS News reports between 12-23 civilians died in U.S.-led coalition air strikes on the village of Akayrshi Sunday night. RBSS, which reported 22 civilian deaths in the bombing, said the strikes targeted a convoy of farm workers. SOHR said 12 women were among those killed.
On Friday, Airwars, RBSS, Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) and others reported 20 civilians — including five children — were killed in a U.S.-led air strike on the al-Thaleth neighborhood of Raqqa city. Airwars published the names and ages of many of the victims, which ranged from a one-year-old toddler to a 78-year-old man.
On May 11, Euphrates Post reported five civilians died when the car in which they were traveling was hit by a suspected U.S.-led coalition air strike in Quriya. Also on Thursday, Airwars, RBSS and others reported four members of a family were killed in a U.S. air strike on Markada, al Hassakah province, while three other civilians died in a strike on Hamra Blassem in Raqqa province.
On May 12, RBSS reported an elderly man, his wife and his granddaughter died in a May 12 coalition strike in Tabaqa’s Third District. Also on May 12, RBSS reported at least seven civilians, many of them relatives from two families, died in likely coalition air strikes on al-Asadeya farm in Raqqa province.
On Friday, Digital Journal reported at least 50 Syrian civilians died, mostly in and around the de facto IS capital of Raqqa, in previous U.S.-led air strikes between May 8-11. That article came just two days after DJ reported between 53 and 76 civilians killed, and as many as 95 others injured, in earlier May strikes.
U.S. military officials claim everything is being done to minimize the number of innocent civilians killed or injured in coalition air strikes. However, the Pentagon does not investigate most reported civilian casualties attributed to U.S.-led warplanes, and survivors in Syria and Iraq accuse the U.S. military of lying about the number of civilians it kills. According to the Pentagon, air strikes have killed 352 Syrian and Iraqi civilians since the U.S.-led coalition intervened in the Syrian civil war in 2014. Airwars has reported between 3,294 and 5,281 civilian deaths in over 1,300 separate incidents attributed to the U.S.-led coalition since the start of the anti-IS air campaign.
The vast majority of the more than 400,000 Syrians killed during the country’s six-year civil war have died at the hands of government troops loyal to longtime dynastic dictator Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Russia, Iran and the Shia militant group Hezbollah. However, more than 15 years of continuous U.S.-led war against Islamist militants throughout the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa have killed far more innocents, with estimates of the number of civilians killed in the seven nations attacked by U.S. and allied forces ranging from the low hundreds of thousands to over 1.3 million. There has been a surge in civilian deaths during the administration of Donald Trump, who infamously vowed to “bomb the shit” out of IS militants and “take out their families” — a war crime under the Geneva Convention.
Since the August 1945 nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, U.S. military forces have killed more innocent foreign civilians than any other armed force in the world, by far.