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US-led forces killed 1,600 civilians in Syria's Raqqah in 2017: Report

The photo shows buildings destroyed by US-led coalition's airstrikes during its bombing campaign against the city of Raqqah in northern Syria in 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Amnesty International and another high-profile war monitoring group say the US-led coalition allegedly fighting the Takfiri terror group of Daesh has remarkably understated the deaths its campaign caused among civilians in the northern Syrian city of Raqqah in 2017, saying the coalition killed more than 1,600 civilians during its assault on the city.

The coalition waged a no-holds-barred assault against the city in 2017 under the pretext of dislodging the terrorists, who had named the city as their so-called headquarters.

Amnesty and Airwars, a London-based group set up in 2014 to monitor the impact of the US-led campaign, said the onslaught had killed more than 1,600 civilians, 10 times the toll acknowledged by the coalition.

The groups said they spent 18 months researching civilian deaths, including two months on the ground in Raqqah.

"Our conclusive finding after all this is that the US-led coalition's military offensive (involving the US, UK, and French forces) directly caused more than 1,600 civilian deaths in Raqqah," the report said.

Amnesty International and Airwars called on the coalition to acknowledge the scope of the reported civilian casualties and "to put in place an independent, impartial mechanism to effectively and promptly investigate reports of civilian harm, including violations of international humanitarian law, and make the findings public."

Daesh seized Raqqah in early 2014 during its advance through Syria and Iraq. 

Kurdish militants recaptured Raqqah in October 2017 with the help of US airstrikes, which left the once sprawling city totally destroyed. 

The wholesale strike against Raqqah reportedly took the coalition's disregard for massive destruction to a new level. Reuters reporters stationed in the city during and after the offensive said that the bombardment had caused massive destruction in the city, laying waste to entire districts.

In October 2017, the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said the US had wiped the Syrian city "off the face of the earth" with carpet bombing in the same way the United States and Britain bombed Germany's Dresden in 1945.

"Raqqah has inherited the fate of Dresden in 1945, wiped off the face of the earth by Anglo-American bombardments," Major General Igor Konashenkov said back then.

Damascus has repeatedly denounced the coalition for its illegal presence in the country, suspected its true intention, and condemned its disregard for civilian lives.

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