Wednesday, June 14, 2017

'Staggering' Civilian Deaths from US-Led Air Strikes in Raqqa: UN

Intensified coalition air strikes supporting an assault by US-backed forces on Daesh (also known as ISIL or ISIS) stronghold of Raqqa in Syria are causing a "staggering loss of civilian life", United Nations war crimes investigators said on Wednesday.


The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group of Kurdish and Arab militias supported by a US-led coalition, began to attack Raqqa a week ago to take it from the militants. The SDF, supported by heavy coalition air strikes, have taken territory to the west, east and north of the city.

"We note in particular that the intensification of air strikes, which have paved the ground for an SDF advance in Raqqa, has resulted not only in staggering loss of civilian life, but has also led to 160,000 civilians fleeing their homes and becoming internally displaced," Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry told the Human Rights Council, Reuters reported.

Pinheiro provided no figure for civilian casualties in Raqqa, where rival forces are racing to capture ground from Daesh. The Syrian army is also advancing on the desert area west of the city.

Separately, Human Rights Watch expressed concern in a statement about the use of incendiary white phosphorous weapons by the US-led coalition fighting Daesh in Iraq and Syria, saying it endangered civilians when used in populated areas...
 (Tasnim)
14/6/17
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