That averages to roughly one munition every eight minutes for 31 days straight – and on a country against which the US has never formally declared war. However, it’s no secret that US special forces and clandestine operatives aren’t exactly in Syria just to help pass out bottled water.
By comparison, the US Air Force dropped 503 munitions on Afghan soil during the same month, Air Force Central Command data showed, and the most munitions ever fired upon Mosul, Iraq, in the fight to win that city back from Daesh only reached 5,500 in any given month of the campaign.
Airwars, a UK nonprofit journalism project to promote transparency in warfare, estimates 433 civilians were killed as a consequence of the US attacks on the city last month.
Syrian Democratic Forces declared Wednesday “80 percent of the Raqqa city has been liberated.”
Reducing cities to rubble is par for the course for the US military. US forces don’t “have the means or a method” to overcome “urban security challenges” such as those posed by Daesh in places like Mosul or Raqqa except via “massively destructive efforts,” according to a Modern War Institute at West Point analysis from September 13. Without any obviously better options, “we, too, would have little recourse other than essentially destroying the cities in order to save them,” authors John Spencer and John Amble wrote.
The analysis, titled “A better approach to urban operations: Treat cities like human bodies,” shows that as it stands, the US evidently conducts urban operations without taking extra measures to preserve municipalities. “We cause incredible disruption and even destruction, but without any research-based evidence that these efforts will save the city.”