US-led coalition responsible for thousands of deaths, SNHR reports

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) announced yesterday that the U.S.-led coalition against Daesh has been responsible for the deaths of 3,037 civilians, including 924 children and 656 women, in the last five years. The distribution of the death toll by governorate was also reported, where the province of Raqqa came first, followed by the provinces of Aleppo and Deir el-Zour.

According to the SNHR report, at least 172 massacres committed by coalition forces and at least 181 attacks on civilian vital centers, including 25 attacks on schools, 16 on medical facilities and four on markets, have been reported since its military intervention in Syria.

Furthermore, military operations in the governorates of Raqqa, Deir el-Zour and Hasakah have displaced at least 560,000 people. Both the coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), led by the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG), are responsible for their displacement, as well as Daesh, which has used them as human shields.

Accordingly, following the U.S. military intervention, 249 civilians lost their lives in the first year, 398 in the second, 1,753 in the third, 432 in the fourth and 205 in the fifth year, totaling 3,037 so far.

In 2018, Amnesty International said the U.S.-led military campaign killed hundreds of civilians in indiscriminate bombing, amounting to possible war crimes. Amnesty International and the SNHR are not the only nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) worried about the civilian conditions in Raqqa and many have criticized the U.S. for its actions in the region. Last year, Human Rights Watch said Raqqa has "at least nine mass graves, each one estimated to have dozens, if not hundreds, of bodies, making exhumations a monumental task."

Following its emergence during the Syrian civil war, Daesh expanded its territories in Syria and Iraq. Occupying the Syrian and Iraqi cities of Raqqa and Mosul, the terrorist organization had declared a self-proclaimed caliphate. U.S.-led coalition forces were formed in 2014 to combat Daesh. More than four years after Daesh overran large parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq, the terrorist group has lost one territory after another.

Yet, the U.S.' Syria policy, especially its military support for the YPG terrorists, has been a cause of tension between Ankara and Washington. Ankara argues that one terrorist group cannot be used to fight another. The U.S. still allies itself with the SDF in Syria, which mainly consists of YPG militants.

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