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    A civil defence member works amid burning vehicles at a site hit by airstrikes in the rebel held besieged Douma neighbourhood of Damascus, Syria, February 26, 2017.

    Pentagon Continues to Underreport Civilian Casualties in Iraq and Syria

    © REUTERS / Bassam Khabieh
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    The Pentagon’s official tally of civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria appears to be massively underreported, as it is far below the estimates by NGOs keeping track in the region.

    On Saturday, the US military issued a statement asserting that 21 civilians were killed from November 2016 to January 2017, in nine separate strikes by the US-led coalition fighting Daesh in the two nations. This time frame covers the entire beginning of the bloody Iraqi invasion to reclaim Mosul.

    "Although the Coalition takes extraordinary efforts to strike military targets in a manner that minimizes the risk of civilian casualties, in some incidents casualties are unavoidable," the statement said.

    This would bring the official public tally since 2014 to 220. However, a monitoring group called Airwars believes the total of civilians killed to be 2,463, at a minimum.

    “Indeed, just one media report from mid-January showed US-led airstrikes killing 25-30 civilians in a single incident, though naturally this didn’t make it into the official count,” Antiwar, a website that also monitors civilian death tolls, noted.

    Since the beginning of the war, official death toll reports have consistently been reported as a fraction of the figures documented by the monitoring groups.

    According to Airwars, there have been 18,750 coalition strikes in the air war against Daesh, with 11,323 in Iraq and 7,427 in Syria, during the 935 days of the campaign. They estimate that there have been at least 69,337 bombs dropped during that time.

    It is now six days into the month of March, and the website has already logged 17 new airstrikes.

    “With so much of the US air war focusing on densely populated cities it is not all that surprising that there would be such a large number of slain bystanders, though the desperation of military leaders under both Obama and Trump to make the war look successful is such that they will never admit as much,” Antiwar noted.

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    Military, Daesh, Airwars, United States, Iraq, Syria
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