MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria has released a report concerning the US-led operation in Raqqa.
"Investigations are ongoing into allegations that international coalition airstrikes, carried out as part of the on-going offensive to repel ISIL [Daesh] from ar-Raqqah [Raqqa], have resulted – and continue to result — in increasingly alarming numbers of civilians casualties. The Commission is gravely concerned that this offensive has led to the internal displacement of some 190,000 persons, with the fate of some 20,000 others precarious as they remain trapped in ar-Raqqah city, many of them civilians that ISIL reportedly forced to concentrate in areas under its control," the UN said.
The Syrian state media and Damascus have repeatedly accused the coalition of killing civilians in Raqqa as a result of the bombing. The Syrian Foreign Ministry urged the UN to condemn the coalition over alleged civilian casualties amid the operation in Syria, which is not approved by both the UN and the Syrian legitimate authorities.
The Raqqa operation supported by the US-led coalition is conducted on the ground by Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) opposition fighters. According to the UN and watchdogs, civilians in Raqqa are increasingly facing deadly risks as the bombardment by forces seeking to liberate the city from Daesh terror group has intensified as the operation nears its end. As of today about 20,000 innocent civilians remain trapped in the besieged city, many of whom are looking for any opportunity to flee the warzone.
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said last Friday that Raqqa may be liberated by the end of October.