Aug. 9 (UPI) — The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Syria killed about 30 civilians in airstrikes on Raqqa this week, a human rights monitor said Wednesday.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bombardments killed nine women and 14 children, about half of which were from one family, over the previous 24 hours. The organization said the death toll was expected to rise because of the severity of some of the injuries.
News releases from Operation Inherent Resolve said there were 24 airstrikes on Islamic State tactical units in Raqqa on Monday and 25 on Tuesday. Combined, those strikes destroyed 67 fighting positions, four command and control nodes, two weapons caches, four vehicles, two mortar systems, a tunnel, a heavy machine gun, an improvised explosive device facility, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device facility and a weapons depot.
Omar al-Asad, deputy head of the Syrian parliament committee on foreign affairs, told Russian news agency Sputnik the civilian deaths were “criminal acts” by the coalition.
“The U.S. kills ordinary Syrians while shying away from Daesh forces,” he said, using an Arabic term for the Islamic State. “The Raqqa operation should be described as sabotage and laying waste, not as liberation.”
The Syrian government also has been accused of attacks on civilians in the six-year civil war, notably in its use of chemical attacks. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons issued a report in June saying the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used sarin gas in an April attack that killed 90 people.
A U.N. Security Council report in 2017 indicated the regime also launched chlorine gas attacks against its own population in the Idlib province in April 2014 and March 2015.
Earlier this month, the U.S. coalition revealed it “unintentionally” killed 600 civilians in Syria since launching Operation Inherent Resolve in 2014.
The coalition said that though “extraordinary efforts” are taken to carry out strikes in a way that minimizes civilian casualties, “in some incidents casualties are unavoidable.”