Watchdog: US-Led Ops Against Daesh in Syria, Iraq Deadliest Since Vietnam War
The US-led coalition is responsible for at least 9,600 civilian deaths in its campaign against Daesh in Syria and Iraq, representing the highest death toll inflicted by Western military forces since the Vietnam War, a fresh report by London-based NGO Airwars said.
“Since 2014, Airwars estimates that the Coalition is likely responsible for between 6,250 and 9,600 civilian deaths overall in the war against ISIS [Daesh], out of more than 25,000 civilian fatalities alleged locally by Iraqis and Syrians,” the report read.
The NGO went on saying that non-combatant casualties from US-led strikes “appear to be at their highest levels since Vietnam,” but little has been done to calculate the official death toll from urban fighting.
The watchdog also highlighted that strikes were often planned without thoroughly assessing the potential for casualties. According to Airwars, the coalition failed to properly assess ‘unobservable’ civilian harm in urban fighting and relied on remote analysis, which did not allow non-combatant damage in residential areas to be realistically estimated. The inability to carry out field analysis and assess how many people may have been hiding near targeted areas was probably the key reason why the coalition undercounted the death toll, Airwars concluded.
The US-led coalition in Iraq and Syria consists of more than 70 members. The coalition’s strikes in Iraq are conducted in cooperation with Iraqi officials, but those in Syria are not authorized by President Bashar Assad’s government or the United Nations Security Council.
According to the coalition’s statistics, almost 900 civilians have been killed by its strikes since the onset of the campaign in 2014.