UN war crimes investigators have denounced a “staggering loss of civilian life” caused by the US-backed bombings to take the city of Raqqa, Syria.
Coalition air strikes have killed at least 300 civilians in Raqqa since March, as U.S.-backed forces close in on the ISIS stronghold, U.N. war crimes investigators said on Wednesday according to Reuters.
The US backed terrorist strikes also caused 160,000 civilians to flee their homes.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group of Kurdish and Arab militias supported by a U.S.-led coalition, began to attack Raqqa a week ago in an attempt to take the city from the terrorists current controlling it.
“Coalition air strikes have intensified around the city,” said Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry.
“As the operation is gaining pace very rapidly, civilians are caught up in the city under the oppressive rule of ISIL, while facing extreme danger associated with movement due to excessive air strikes,” he told reporters.
Karen Abuzayd, an American commissioner on the independent panel, said: “We have documented the deaths caused by the coalition air strikes only and we have about 300 deaths, 200 in one place, in al-Mansoura, one village.”
Rival forces are racing to capture ground from ISIS around Raqqa, and the Syrian army is also advancing on the desert area west of the city.
Human Rights Watch also expressed concern in a statement about the illegal use of incendiary white phosphorous weapons by the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, saying it endangered civilians when used in populated areas.
White phosphorus is not banned as a chemical weapon and can legally be used on battlefields to make smoke screens, generate illumination, mark targets or burn bunkers and buildings. But it can cause serious burns and start fires, according to Reuters.
Pinheiro said that 10 agreements between the Syrian government and armed groups to evacuate fighters and civilians from besieged areas “in some cases amount to war crimes” as civilians had “no choice”.
Syria’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Hussam Edin Aaala, denounced violations “committed by the unlawful U.S.-led coalition which targets infrastructure, killing hundreds of civilians including the deaths of 30 civilians in Deir al-Zor.”
It appears the people of Syria are trading 1 terrorist organization for another. Syrian civilians are still being slaughtered, just by people who fly over and drop bombs rather than people with guns.
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)