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224 civilians dead in U.S.-led strikes in Raqqa siege, says watchdog

Smoke rises from the al-Mishlab district at Raqqa's southeastern outskirts, Syria June 7, 2017. Tens of thousands of civilians are believed to be trapped inside Raqqa, with warnings that the jihadists are using them as human shields.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

U.S.-led coalition airstrikes have killed at least 224 civilians since the Syrian forces it backs entered Islamic State (IS) bastion Raqqa a month ago, a monitor said on Thursday.

Arab and Kurdish fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces broke into Raqqa on June 6 after a months-long operation to encircle the northern city. “At least 224 civilians, including 38 children and 28 women, have been killed in air strikes by the global coalition on Raqqa since the SDF entered it,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Human shields

The Britain-based Observatory said it did not have a toll for civilians killed in other ways, including by other military operations, mines, or while trying to flee the city.

Tens of thousands of civilians are believed to be trapped inside Raqqa, with warnings that the jihadists are using them as human shields.

Many Raqa residents who have managed to escape say IS snipers are targeting anyone trying to leave the city.

The Observatory said clashes and airstrikes in Raqqa had killed 311 IS jihadists and 106 SDF militiamen since June 6. The U.S.-backed coalition is providing the SDF’s campaign with heavy air support, as well as special forces advisers, weapons, and equipment.

Since IS captured Raqqa in early 2014, it has served as the de facto capital of the group’s Syrian territory.


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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 3:26:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/224-civilians-dead-in-us-led-strikes-in-raqqa-siege-says-watchdog/article19225697.ece

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