RNA - The US-led military coalition to purportedly fight the Daesh (ISIL) terrorists in Syria, has killed more than 1,600 civilians in the country’s northern city of Raqqa during months of airstrikes that led to eviction of the foreign-backed militants, two UK-based rights groups said, noting that the figure reflects hundreds more than the number claimed by the mainly Western coalition.
Amnesty International (AI) and Airwars declared in a joint statement on Thursday that the new toll figure was obtained after the "most comprehensive investigation into civilian deaths in a modern conflict," AP reported Friday.
This is while the US-led military force claimed last month that only 1,257 civilians were killed in their bombardments of Daesh targets over four years in both Syria and Iraq.
"We continue to employ thorough and deliberate targeting and strike processes to minimize the impact of our operations on civilian populations and infrastructure," the coalition stated.
A rival, US-backed Syrian terrorist group captured Raqqa in October 2017 after a four-month battle.
Meanwhile, the United Nations estimates that more than 10,000 buildings, or 80 percent of the city, were destroyed during the campaign.
"Coalition forces razed Raqqa, but they cannot erase the truth. Amnesty International and Airwars call upon the Coalition forces to end their denial about the shocking scale of civilian deaths and destruction caused by their offensive in Raqqa," the two groups said in their latest statement.
In June of last year, another AI report estimated that hundreds of civilians were killed in Raqqa, while the Airwars emphasized that it has evidence of 1,400 fatalities.
The statement said AI’s innovative "Strike Trackers" project also identified when each of the more than 11,000 destroyed buildings in Raqqa was hit. More than 3,000 digital activists in 124 countries took part, analyzing a total of more than 2 million satellite image frames, it added.
"The Coalition needs to fully investigate what went wrong at Raqqa and learn from those lessons, to prevent inflicting such tremendous suffering on civilians caught in future military operations," Airwars Director Chris Woods further underlined.