TEHRAN (FNA)- Another bogus Pentagon report on civilian death tolls in Iraq and Syria has been released, and as usual dramatically underreports the true death toll of an increasingly aggressive and criminal air campaign in densely populated cities.
Most of the deliberate deaths come in Raqqa, and reports on the ground documented roughly 100 civilians killed in a single 48 hour span in mid-August. This was the result of bombardment of residential areas in Raqqa, something which is realistically happening almost daily throughout the entire month. 100 civilians dead in 48 hours, and Airwars documented hundreds of incidents besides. Yet the Pentagon boiled this all down to a preposterously low claim of only 50 civilians killed in the entire month, despite documentation that there were multiple individual days that had bigger tolls from US action than that.
It’s still not clear where the Pentagon gets the nerve to keep overtly lying about their death tolls, but we do know the method. The Pentagon said they were aware of 185 reports of them causing civilian casualties. The 50 killed came from the 14 that they believed, and the other 171 incidents, and the hundreds of deaths associated with them, were labeled “non-credible” and discarded.
As always, the non-credible distinction appears to be wholly arbitrary, since the Pentagon regime has admitted it makes no formal effort to confirm body counts to begin with, believing such figures are not militarily useful. Lying to the world public about the people they killed, however, has proven an extremely practical side effect of this, and the lack of even nominal record-keeping gives them at least some deniability.
However, that hasn’t stopped the United Nations from expressing deep concern over these reports, saying that they condemn any attack directed against civilians or civilian infrastructure.
“In recent days and weeks scores of civilians have reportedly been killed and injured in Raqqa due to airstrikes and shelling and up to 25 thousand people remain trapped in the city,” Stephane Dujarric, UN Secretary General spokesperson says, adding that “our humanitarian colleagues tell us they are deeply concerned by reports of a high number of civilians killed by airstrikes in Raqqa city over the last 24 hour.”
True, the spokesman says, “The UN condemns any attack that is directed against civilians or civilian infrastructure. We urge all parties fighting in Raqqa and across Syria to take every possible measure to spare and protect civilians and civilian infrastructure as in line with obligations under international humanitarian law.” But words are not enough. People getting killed on the ground need to see UN action.
And by action we mean a resolution backed by the international community that has the teeth to stop the indiscriminate, and at times, deliberate targeting of civilian areas in airstrikes.
The US-backed coalition, including forces from the Kurdish YPG, has been launching an operation to push out the terrorist group of ISIL from Raqqa for some time now, and the high civilian death toll is no longer acceptable. After all, they are not “liberating” Raqqa for its people. They want to occupy it indefinitely for influence after ISIL.
The US has been conducting airstrikes in Syria since September of 2014, claiming to be targeting the ISIL group. The US does not, however, have any authorization from the Syrian government or the United Nations to be carrying out such attacks. US airstrikes in Syria and Iraq have also been subject to widespread criticism by various human rights groups for not taking proper precaution to save civilian life and infrastructure.
Moreover, the US is merely using the YPG for its own ends, and once it abandons them, there’s a possibility of a showdown between Turkey, Barzani, and the YPG.
In the end, a combination of brutality from the US airstrikes and proxy forces and cynical manipulation by Arab powers means that the regime-change campaign is at its weakest point since it began in 2011. Despite the ongoing US occupation, the regime-change campaign may be edging closer to total defeat, but among many Syrians inside the country and among the refugee diaspora – who tasted American destruction on the pretext of freedom and dignity for the first time in their lives – it will never be forgotten.