Syria: Unprecedented investigation reveals US-led Coalition killed more than 1,600 civilians in Raqqa ‘death trap’
The US-led military Coalition must end almost two years of denial about the massive civilian death toll and destruction it unleashed in the Syrian city of Raqqa, Amnesty International and Airwars said today as they launched a new data project on the offensive to oust the armed group calling itself “Islamic State” (IS).
The interactive website, Rhetoric versus Reality: How the ‘most precise air campaign in history’ left Raqqa the most destroyed city in modern times, is the most comprehensive investigation into civilian deaths in a modern conflict. Collating almost two years of investigations, it gives a brutally vivid account of more than 1,600 civilian lives lost as a direct result of thousands of US, UK and French air strikes and tens of thousands of US artillery strikes in the Coalition’s military campaign in Raqqa from June to October 2017.
By the time the offensive began, the IS had ruled Raqqa for almost four years. It had perpetrated war crimes and crimes against humanity, torturing or killing anyone who dared oppose it. Amnesty International previously documented how IS used civilians as human shields, mined exit routes, set up checkpoints to restrict movement, and shot at those trying to flee. Thousands of civilians were killed or injured in the US-led Coalition’s offensive to rid Raqqa of IS, whose snipers and mines had turned the city into a death trap. Many of the air bombardments were inaccurate and tens of thousands of artillery strikes were indiscriminate, so it is no surprise they killed and injured many hundreds of civilians.
Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International