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US-led coalition admits killing over 1300 civilians in Syria, Iraq

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)
This picture taken on July 17, 2017 shows smoke billowing out following a US-led coalition airstrike on the western frontline of the northern Syrian city of Raqqah. (Photo by AFP)

The US-led military coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh terrorist group has admitted killing over 1300 civilians since it started its military campaign in Iraq and Syria nearly five years ago.  

"The coalition conducted 34,514 strikes between August 2014 and the end of May 2019," the alliance said Thursday. During this period, it "assesses at least 1,319 civilians have been unintentionally killed by coalition strikes."

The military alliance said it was still assessing 159 additional reports of civilian casualties.

The figure is far lower than the death tolls given by groups that have monitored the aerial raids in the two countries.

Airwars, an NGO that monitors civilian casualties from air strikes worldwide, estimates more than 8,000 civilians have been killed in US-led raids.

In a report released in late April, the UK-based Amnesty International and Airwars found that air and artillery strikes by the US and its allies killed more than 1,600 civilians just in four months in the northern Syrian city of Raqqah.

Daesh has been almost purged from entire territories it used to control in Syria and neighboring Iraq. However, sporadic attacks by the group are still reported in the two countries.

The US and its allies have been bombarding what they call Daesh positions inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

The strikes have on many occasions resulted in civilian casualties and failed to fulfill their declared aim of countering terrorism.

The Syrian government has condemned the airstrikes, stressing that they have not been authorized by the Syrian government or the UN Security Council.

Last November, Russia said US warplanes were using white phosphorous bombs in their airstrikes against civilian-populated areas east of the Euphrates River in Syria

Syria, gripped by a militant war since 2011 that has left hundreds of thousands killed, has managed to take back control of many territories from Daesh and other terrorist groups. The devastating war has also displaced millions of people.

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