The bombing of Raqqa
US-led Coalition forces fired ten times more munitions into Raqqa than were released by US aircraft across all of Afghanistan during August, according to new research by Airwars. https://airwars.org/news/raqqa-bombardment/
The intense barrage on the self-proclaimed ISIS capital also led to at least 430 civilians credibly reported killed in Raqqa during the month, local monitors say. Those casualty assessments can be found in the latest Airwars casualty report - which also shows a significant drop in allegations in Iraq following the capture of Mosul.
Coalition officials told Airwars reporter Samuel Oakford that a total of 5,775 munitions were fired into Raqqa during August in support of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). On average, one Coalition bomb, missile or artillery round was fired into the city every eight minutes
The latest Air Force Central Command data shows that US aircraft released 503 munitions across all of Afghanistan during the same month - itself a five year high for that long running conflict.
The intensity of the air and artillery bombardment on Raqqa – primarily by US forces – appears closely to shadow casualty reports on the ground. In July, munition use and likely civilian casualties from Coalition actions at Raqqa fell by 32 percent and 33 percent respectively. In August, both munition use and reported casualties rose steeply again.
Read the latest Airwars monthly casualty assessment here: http://airwars.us10.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=66fbfc37bb5643006c77ea9db&id=291bcc9bb1&e=34d1e0195d
Civilian suffering at Raqqa has been well documented by local monitors such as the Syrian Network for Human Rights ( http://sn4hr.org/blog/2017/07/01/43344/) and (https://www.facebook.com/Raqqa.Sl/photos/a.831935496817703.1073741829.780110825333504/1682435101767734/). Recent field investigations by Amnesty International and the UN-mandated Commission of Inquiry on Syria have also raised significant concerns.
So too has Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – who recently warned that civilians at Raqqa “are paying an unacceptable price and that forces involved in battling ISIL are losing sight of the ultimate goal of this battle.“
Despite more than 1,000 civilian deaths so far having been reported by local monitors at Raqqa, the Coalition has aggressively challenged reports of high casualties from its actions – with senior officials most recently challenging Airwars. To date, the US-led alliance has conceded just four civilian deaths at Raqqa since the start of operations on June 6th.