Over the past few days, the US corporate mainstream media has reported extensively on Russian and Syrian government air strikes that have killed more than 100 civilians in Eastern Ghouta and a Syrian chlorine gas attack in Saraqib. Those same media outlets have all ignored a series of recent US-led coalition bombings of hospitals and villages that have left at least 33 civilians, most of them women and children, dead in Deir Ezzor province.
Local and international media and human rights groups including the UK-based Airwars and Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported as many as 15 civilians, including 7 women, were killed in a January 23 US-led air strike that destroyed a hospital in al-Sha’afa. The town is still reeling from Russian bombing that killed 53 civilians, including 12 women and 21 children, last November. The coalition said it was targeting Islamic State (IS) fighters and IS-held buildings.
Euphrates Post published this video shortly after the January 23 attack:
The following day, local media and monitor groups reported three women, all of them related, died when US-led coalition warplanes bombed the village of Hajeen, near al-Baghouz. The coalition acknowledged carrying out 11 air strikes targeting IS tactical units, equipment, supply routes, fighting positions and lines of communication.
On January 30, Airwars and local media reported three civilians were killed in US-led bombing in al-Bahra village, near Hajeen. The coalition said it had conducted seven air strikes targeting IS fighters, buildings, weapons, supply routes and vehicles.
Another hospital, this one in al-Bahra, was bombed by US-led warplanes on February 2. Airwars, Syrian Network for Human Rights (SN4HR) and local media reported 11 civilians were killed in the strike on the medical facility.
These latest reports of civilian casualties come as Russian and Syrian government officials condemned the United States for air and artillery strikes that killed some 100 local fighters backed by the Bashar al-Assad regime. The coalition said the attack was carried out in “self-defense” after around 500 troops loyal to the Syrian dictator “initiated an unprovoked attack” on a US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) headquarters where coalition troops were present.
US coalition spokesperson Col. Ryan Dillon told the BBC that US military officials notified their Russian counterparts of the impending strike.
“[They] gave us the green light,” Dillon said of the Russians.
US Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis and other US military and government officials regularly claim great care is taken to avoid harming civilians, and that the US war against IS and other Islamist terrorists is “the most precise air campaign in the history of warfare.” However, civilian casualties have soared in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia since President Donald Trump — who during the 2016 campaign promised to “bomb the shit out of” IS and “take out their families” — took office last year.
Trump loosened rules of engagement meant to protect civilians as he escalated the intensity of the US war against IS and other extremist groups, and by last spring, American bombs were killing more Syrian civilians than President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, IS fighters or Russian air strikes. In June 2017, United Nations war crimes investigators condemned the “staggering loss of civilian life” caused by US-led bombing in Syria.
The Pentagon officially accepts responsibility for killing around 800 Syrian and Iraqi civilians since the anti-IS campaign began in August 2014. However, human rights and monitor groups universally assert the actual civilian death toll is far higher. Airwars estimates at least 6,047 civilians have been killed in more than 28,000 US-led air strikes in Iraq and Syria.
The vast majority of the more than 400,000 Syrians who have died during the country’s nearly seven-year civil were killed by Assad’s forces. However, in the wider war against terrorism waged ceaselessly by the US since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, at least hundreds of thousands, and perhaps more than 1.3 million people, have been killed in more than half a dozen predominantly Muslim nations.
Since the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan to end World War II, the US has killed more foreign civilians than any other armed force in the world, by far.