For every single bullet or bomb fired by United States forces, more people are driven into the hands of militants. The War on Terror continually misses its target, rarely hits the terrorists where it counts, and the Pentagon continually misconstrues the facts. Simply put: innocent civilians are bearing the brunt of United States’ firepower. Since the United States started the War on Terror in the Middle East in 2001, literally countless amounts of civilians have lost their lives in the region.
In February 2016, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) revealed a record high count in civilian deaths and injuries caused by the United States’ War on Terror in Afghanistan the previous year. UNAMA said Afghan civilian casualty figures in 2016 – killed or maimed from the war – stood at 11,418.
Recent raids by the United States military on alleged al-Qaeda training camps in Syria and Yemen left over 100 innocent people dead, according to human rights groups monitoring the situation in the two restive countries.
Currently, the United States is leading a bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria, claiming to be targeting members of ISIS. The airstrikes started in 2014. The Pentagon continually states that since the airstrikes began, ISIS has been losing ground, and that civilians are safe in the two countries.
However, independent reports emerging from areas where the bombing campaigns are taking place, show contrary to the Pentagon’s claim. Civilian deaths are soaring.
In Syria, the city of Raqqa, located on the northeast bank of the Euphrates River is the de facto capital of ISIS. On March 20, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that over 33 people were killed in an airstrike on a school in a village west of Raqqa.
The rights group said the building in al-Mansoura was being used as a shelter for displaced people, when it was hit by a United States-led airstrike. Another activist group, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), said as many as 50 families are missing after the devastating strike on the building. Residents of the village told activists that displaced families from Raqqa, Homs and Aleppo provinces were living in the school.
RBSS again reported that 20 civilians were killed by coalition air strikes on the town of Tabqa, an area close to Raqqa. The Syrian Observatory said the al-Mansoura air strike meant at least 116 civilians – including 18 children and 23 women – had been killed by coalition air strikes between February and March. RBSS even puts the civilian death toll in the Raqqa area at 134.
The Pentagon announced recently that the coalition against ISIS is supporting an offensive by an alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters aimed at capturing Raqqa. As part of an operation to isolate the city by the coalition, helicopters airlifted the Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters behind ISIS lines.
This operation paved the way for the indiscriminate bombing of areas close to Raqqa. Meanwhile, the areas being bombed are populated by civilians. Common sense would tell the coalition to first evacuate vulnerable civilians before even airlifting the Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters to its enemy lines.
As this sickening and appalling slaughter of innocent civilians continues in Syria; in the city of Mosul, located in northern Iraq, the situation is no different. Early this year, the Iraqi military and Arab tribal fighters launched a special operation to retake the city from ISIS.
These anti-ISIS fighters are backed by the United States-led coalition. The coalition provides air support for the ground fighters. The operation has therefore increased the number of bombs dropped by the coalition in and out of areas close to Mosul. These areas are densely populated, and of course, civilians are not a priority for the coalition.
The United Nations is now reporting that the Mosul region has suffered the highest number of civilian casualties among Iraq’s provinces since February 2017, due to the new operation to retake the area from ISIS. According to new figures by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), in February, a total of 329 civilians across Iraq have been killed and 613 others injured. The majority of these people were victims of the coalition-led airstrikes, as well as rocket and artillery fire from the Iraqi military.
Even UNAMI said it didn’t get full access to areas being constantly bombarded by the coalition and the Iraqi military. It revealed the death toll could be much higher than what is initially estimated.