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'Crazy numbers': civilian deaths from airstrikes almost double in a year

Published: January 8, 2018
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Source: The Guardian

More than 15,000 civilians were killed by explosive weapons in 2017, a jump of 42% in a year, according to a global survey seen by the Guardian.

The rise – driven by airstrikes, which killed almost double the number of civilians in 2017 compared with the previous year – coincided with US-led military operations to reclaim the Islamic State strongholds of Mosul, in Iraq, and Raqqa, in Syria.

MPs said the figures were “deeply concerning” and raised questions over the transparency of legal criteria used by the Ministry of Defence to determine whether an individual is an Isis combatant.

The UK has said it has no credible evidence of its airstrikes resulting in civilian deaths, while the US military has revealed it unintentionally killed at least 801 civilians in Syria and Iraq.

The global survey, compiled by Action on Armed Violence, an organisation that highlights civilian harm from explosive weapons, suggests the civilian death toll from air-launched explosives rose by 82%, from 4,902 in 2016, to 8,932 in 2017.

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