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Pentagon to pay meagerly for civilians killed in US Iraq raids: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The Pentagon says it is ready to pay for killing civilians in Iraq. (file photo)

The Pentagon is ready to compensate the families of Iraqis killed by American bombs during US airstrikes against purported Daesh (ISIL) positions there, a new report says.

The Pentagon is about to get a $5 million fund to pay the families of civilians killed by 3,586 American airstrikes reportedly targeting Daesh terrorists in the Arab country, the Daily Beast reported Sunday.

This is while the US refuses to publicly acknowledge killing or wounding any civilians.

The $5 million sum, buried deep in the annual defense budget bill the House passed Thursday, is supposed to be used in Iraq when the US military harms a civilian or destroys their property.

However, no such fund exists for Syria, where because of the escalating conflict, it is more difficult to assess the damage caused by American bombs.

So far, the Pentagon has only acknowledged killing a few of Syrian civilians despite viable reports suggesting that the death toll in Iraq and Syria is well within the hundreds zone.

The fund for Iraq falls under a program that is actually intended for Afghanistan-- dubbed the Commanders’ Emergency Response Program (CERP).

Under CERP, US commanders can approve up to $2,500 per person or damaged property, but higher-ups are allowed to sign bigger sums if needed.

This means the US could hand out up to 2,000 “condolence payments” to Iraqis over the next year.

The new annual defense policy bill authorizes $10 million to be spent on CERP in Afghanistan in the 2016 fiscal year.

US Congress is also allowing up to $5 million of that funding to be used for condolence payments in Iraq, should American “combat operations” lead to “damage, personal injury, or death.”

The Senate is expected to pass the bill this week, after which it will go to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.

As of November 3, the US has reportedly carried out 3,586 airstrikes in Iraq and 2,578 Syria.

More than one million Iraqis were killed as a result of the US-led invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq in 2003. It is not yet clear if Washington is also willing to admit fault for those deaths as well.

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