Responding to today’s announcement by the U.S.-led Coalition that at least 1,302 civilians have been unintentionally killed by Coalition strikes in Syria and Iraq between August 2014 and the end of April 2019, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser Donatella Rovera said:
“While all admissions of responsibility by the U.S.-led Coalition for civilian casualties are welcome, the Coalition remains deeply in denial about the devastating scale of the civilian casualties caused by their operations in both Iraq and Syria.
“A comprehensive investigation by Amnesty International in partnership with Airwars, launched last month, revealed that more than 1,600 civilians were killed in the Raqqa offensive alone in 2017 – meaning the acknowledged deaths are just a fraction of the total numbers killed.
“Today’s acknowledgement of further civilian deaths underscores the urgent need for thorough, independent investigations that can uncover the true scale of civilian casualties caused by Coalition strikes, examine whether each attack complied with international humanitarian law and provide full reparation to victims.
“Even in cases where the Coalition has admitted responsibility this has only happened after civilian deaths were investigated and brought to its attention by organizations such as Amnesty International and Airwars. The Coalition has so far failed to carry out investigations on the ground or provide reasons for the civilian casualties. Without a clear examination of what went wrong in each case lessons can never be learned.”
Amnesty International has carried out in-depth field investigations, interviews with survivors and witnesses in both Raqqa and Mosul, documenting hundreds of cases of civilians killed in Coalition strikes. For more information on this work see:
Rhetoric versus Reality: How the ‘most precise air campaign in history’ left Raqqa the most destroyed city in modern times
‘War of annihilation’: Devastating Toll on Civilians, Raqqa – Syria,
At Any Cost: The Civilian Catastrophe in West Mosul, Iraq
Iraq: Civilians killed by airstrikes in their homes after they were told not to flee Mosul