19:24 GMT05 April 2020
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    The Pentagon press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, has said that the US military takes concerns regarding civilian casualties more seriously than any other military on Earth. But recent research into civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes in Syria and Iraq proves all the more reason to doubt the assertion.

    A report published on February 4 by USA Today suggests that statements made by US authorities contradict the actual state of affairs. It cites several episodes involving aerial strikes conducted by the US in the Middle East which killed dozens of civilians. Those killings were never officially acknowledged by the US, according to the newspaper.

    One of the worst tragedies allegedly connected to the US anti-terrorist campaign is said to have occurred at Syria's Hasaka front in December. In that incident, 47 civilians in the tiny village of Al Khan were killed during an airstrike conducted by US air forces supporting Kurdish rebels. Reportedly, half of the victims were children.

    One of the survivors, who introduced himself as Abu Khalil, acknowledged that Daesh militants were present in the village. However, there were fewer than ten, he explained, and they stayed at one place together with two locals. Meanwhile, about a hundred other residents who didn't flee the village confronted Daesh militants and tried to expel them. When one altercation escalated to an exchange of fire, Daesh apparently sent reinforcements to the village. This convoy was apparently spotted by the Kurds, who called in for air support.

    "If this version of events is true, it is a bitter irony for the villagers. It would mean their brave opposition to the Islamic State resulted in a brutal attack by American aircraft," USA Today wrote.

    In September, 2014, an unknown 4 or 5-year-old-boy was hospitalized in a coma in the southern Turkish city of Iskenderun. Doctors later identified that he was one of the first victims of US airstrikes in Syria, as one of the attacks targeted a village called Kfar Derian, where the boy lived.

    The operation started on September 22. Two warships, one in the Red Sea and one in the Persian Gulf, launched 47 cruise missiles, most of them targeting Daesh position in Iraq and Syria. The other eight were meant for Khorasan group, an Al Qaeda affiliate. One of those missiles apparently hit the Kfar Derian village.  

    "The explosions were very big. When the people saw this they said the missiles came from the sea," a resident of the neighboring village Abu Mohammed told the newspaper.

    On the next day, the Syrian Network for Human Rights reported that a missile hit a building occupied by Nusra, killing many of the group's fighters. But the explosion was so big that the blast wave also demolished a house 100 yards away. According to the activists, there were 13 bodies of civilians in the house, including five women and five children. But Abu Mohammed denied there were armed men in the village and claimed that the attack killed "six families".

    "Houses were bombed," he said. "Families died. There were no survivors. The only one who lived was that child."

    "You build in your countries and destroy in ours?" asked Abdul-Aziz al Hassan, who lost his father in the bombing at a Syrian village of al Gharra. "Is this how you bring democracy? Stop it."

    These are only a few examples from the America's "track record." The research describes multiple cases in which US airstrikes entailed major civilian casualties, never accepted by the Pentagon.    

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    Tags:
    civilian casualties, airstrike, Daesh, Syria, Iraq, United States
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