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During Obama’s Final Days, Hundreds of Civilian Deaths Passed Unremarked in Iraq and Syria

by | Jan 24, 2017

During Obama’s Final Days, Hundreds of Civilian Deaths Passed Unremarked in Iraq and Syria

by | Jan 24, 2017

Civilian casualties escalate in Mosul and Raqqa

In the last weeks of the Obama presidency, the U.S.-led air war against so-called Islamic State intensified dramatically — leading to hundreds of likely civilian deaths. Yet in contrast to recent events at Aleppo, international press coverage has been largely absent.

Since the official start of operations to capture Mosul on Oct. 17, 2016, Airwars researchers have tracked 91 allegations of civilian casualties from coalition air strikes in and around the city. Of those, 35 claimed events are from just the first 17 days of 2017, as Iraqi forces sought to capture all of eastern Mosul.

So far four coalition incidents in the battle for Iraq’s second city have been confirmed, taking the lives of at least 20 civilians. A further 35 incidents have been graded as “fair” by Airwars researchers — meaning there are two or more credible local reports and coalition air strikes reported in the near vicinity.

Based on Airwars assessments, those additional alleged strikes likely claimed the lives of between 294 and 350 civilians in Mosul.

In the same period — from Oct. 17 onward — Airwars researchers have recorded 62 alleged civilian casualty incidents stemming from coalition operations supporting U.S. proxy ground forces in Raqqa governorate. Two of those incidents have been confirmed by the coalition, while a further 43 were rated “fair” by Airwars researchers.

Based on Airwars monitoring, those incidents appear likely to have claimed the lives of another 154 to 229 civilians.

Reports from Mosul in January have seen daily allegations of civilian deaths. Airwars has learned of at least one incident — which reportedly claimed the lives of 11 civilians from one family — a full month after it occurred. It is likely that additional cases will be uncovered as journalists gain access to the liberated east of the city. And in Raqqa, several alleged coalition strikes over the last month have claimed dozens of lives.

Both cities are being hit heavily by foreign air power, leaving many civilians dead amid siege-like conditions. But in the waning days of the Obama administration — and just after the much-covered fall of rebel-held Aleppo — media interest shifted. In total, 450 or more civilians appear to have been killed in intense coalition actions across Iraq and Syria since October — yet their deaths have largely been ignored.

“With reported fatalities from coalition strikes at record levels we would have expected significant media engagement,” says Airwars director Chris Woods. “Instead, anything beyond local reporting has been almost non-existent.”

 Read the rest at War is Boring.

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