A member of the Syrian parliament says Washington greatly understates the number of civilian deaths caused by the US-led coalition airstrikes allegedly targeting terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.
In an interview with Russia’s Sputnik Arabic news agency, Muhammed al-Hussein said the recent statement released by the US Central Command (CENTCOM) was “ridiculous” because the airstrikes actually claimed the lives of thousands of civilians in the two war-ravaged countries.
The statement, published on April 1, said the coalition had conducted a total of 18,645 strikes between August 2014 and February 2017, killing 396 civilians in Syria and Iraq.
It also added that the total number of credible reports of civilian casualties during this period was 102, with 43 still being assessed.
“We are surprised by the figures quoted because only during one bombing of Raqqah city more than 700 unarmed residents of the city were killed,” Hussein said in reaction to the CENTCOM statement.
“We are used to deceitful proclamations made by the international coalition, the United States and the United Nations,” the Syrian parliament member noted. “We know that the coalition fights irresponsibly and insincerely with Daesh, al-Nusra and other terrorist groups. Quite the reverse, they act in the interests of the militants and provide them with protection.”
During the interview, Hussein went on to say that more than 20,000 unarmed people, including women and children, had lost their lives by the coalition strikes in Syria and Iraq.
Meanwhile, rights and monitoring groups have also provided conflicting civilian death reports from international airstrikes led by Washington that stand high above those claimed by the US Central Command.
The co-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the 42,234 documented airstrikes in the country have resulted in a minimum estimate of some 7,000 civilians killed by the US-led coalition between 2014 and 2017.
Air Wars, a UK-based non-profit monitoring group, has also estimated that more than 3,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq and Syria in the same period.
In March, Amnesty International accused the coalition of "flagrant violation of international humanitarian law" as it failed to take precautions to prevent high death toll among civilians in the key Iraqi city of Mosul.
The United States launched a campaign of airstrikes against Daesh in August 2014 after the terrorist group overran Mosul and parts of Iraq's north and west.
The US-led coalition of 68 nations has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be the positions of Daesh terrorists inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.
The coalition has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of fulfilling its declared aim of destroying Daesh.