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Dozen Syrian civilians die in fresh US-led airstrikes on Raqqah

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)
Smoke rises after an airstrike during fighting between members of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces backed by the United States and Daesh Takfiri terrorists in Raqqah, Syria, August 15, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

A so-called monitoring group says at least a dozen civilians have lost their lives when the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group conducted a series of aerial assaults on Syria’s militant-held northern city of Raqqah.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Wednesday that 12 civilians, including two children and four women, had lost their lives in the attacks against residential areas in the city, located about 455 kilometers (283 miles) northeast of the capital Damascus.

The report came only two days after Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that at least 14 civilians had been killed in similar airstrikes against al-Naim district in the city.

The raids also severely damaged private property and civilian infrastructure in the targeted area.

The city of Raqqah, which lies on the northern bank of the Euphrates River, was overrun by Daesh terrorists in March 2013, and was proclaimed the center for most of the administrative and control tasks of the Takfiri terrorist group the following year.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) says Daesh terrorists are holding some of the civilians trapped in Raqqah as human shields.

The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of fulfilling its declared objective of destroying Daesh.

On June 6, US-backed militiamen from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they had launched an operation aimed at pushing Daesh out of Raqqah.

The UN human rights chief said in a statement on August 31 that civilians trapped in Raqqah were paying an “unacceptable price,” suggesting that the US-led coalition may be violating international law in the territory.

“Given the extremely high number of reports of civilian casualties this month and the intensity of the airstrikes on Raqqah, coupled with Daesh’s use of civilians as human shields, I am deeply concerned that civilians, who should be protected at all times, are paying an unacceptable price and forces involved in battling Daesh are losing sight of the ultimate goal of this battle,” said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein.

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