As many as 77 innocent people or more, including 11 children, were killed during US-led coalition airstrikes performed in Syria over this Monday and Tuesday.
According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), the US-led airstrike in Manbij, Syria targeted the group of civilians, mistakenly identifying them as ISIS-affiliated fighters. The number of those killed remains unclear, though AFP and the New York Times reported that 56 civilians were killed Monday and another 21 killed Tuesday. Dozens more have been wounded.
Other reports vary, however, and estimate higher numbers. “That school housed displaced people from neighboring villages,” Abu Omar al-Manbiji reported to Syria:direct, a non-profit reporting agency that works on the ground in Syria. “So far we count 124 dead from the attack, and that number could very well increase.”
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks civilian deaths in the area, reported that 104 civilians, including 29 children, 16 women, and 8 prisoners, have been killed in the area since the start of June, and they confirmed at least 11 children died in these latest strikes.
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— WorldOnAlert (@worldonalert) July 19, 2016
— Syrian Network (@snhr) July 19, 2016
Manbij city is one of the most barren regions of Syria, with the U.N. Commission on Human Rights estimating approximately 70,000 civilians have been stranded in Manbij as fighting between ISIS fighters and Western-funded rebels intensifies. In a public statement, human rights group Amnesty International condemned the airstrikes as “the largest loss of civilian life by coalition operations in Syria:
— Joey Ayoub جووي أيوب (@joeyayoub) July 19, 2016
“There must be a prompt, independent, and transparent investigation to determine what happened, who was responsible, and how to avoid further needless loss of civilian life. Anyone responsible for violations of international humanitarian law must be brought to justice and victims and their families should receive full reparation,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, the interim deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa program for Amnesty International.
“International humanitarian law requires all parties to a conflict to prevent the needless loss of civilian life,” Mughrabi said. “Even if coalition forces believed that fighters from the armed group calling itself Islamic State were present around al-Tukhar, they should have taken the necessary precaution to identify who else was present to avoid or at least minimize civilian casualties.”
As of this writing, there has been no response to the airstrikes by U.S. President Barack Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry.
Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at [email protected]