World Bulletin / News Desk
The U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition said in a report Saturday it has recorded 229 civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria since the beginning of its operations in 2014.
The coalition’s report comes amid concerns over rising civilian casualties in the fight against the terror group as coalition forces push to retake the city of Mosul, ISIL’s stronghold in Iraq.
A total of 43 reports of civilian deaths, 20 from Syria and 23 from Iraq, were still being assessed, the report added.
Before Saturday’s report, the coalition had already acknowledged 220 civilian deaths.
A March 17 strike in western Mosul, thought to have been carried out by U.S. forces, reportedly killed more than a hundred civilians. The U.S. is conducting a formal investigation.
The head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday that there was a “fair chance” the U.S. military “may have contributed” to the Mosul strike.
His comments echoed those of coalition commander Gen. Stephen Townsend, who acknowledged in a terse back and forth with reporters on Tuesday that the U.S. "probably had a role" in the strike.
On Monday Amnesty International admonished the U.S. for the recent spike in civilian deaths, saying in a report that "hundreds of civilians" have been killed after being told by Iraqi forces to stay inside for their own protection.
"The high civilian toll suggests that coalition forces leading the offensive in Mosul have failed to take adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths, in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law,” said the group's senior crisis response adviser Donatella Rovera, after carrying out field investigations in Mosul.
Votel maintained that the U.S.' rules of engagement have not been relaxed since President Donald Trump came to power in January.
Providing an accurate representation of civilian casualties in anti-ISIL operations presents immense sourcing difficulties, resulting in wild swings in estimates. Airwars, a website following the human impact of the coalition’s operations through local sources, puts the civilian death toll at “a minimum of 2,831 to 4,503”.Last Mod: 02 Nisan 2017, 09:16