Syrian media have repeatedly reported on US-led coalition strikes, which have led to countless civilian casualties and damage to crucial infrastructure in the Arab Republic. The coalition has been bombing targets in Syria since 2014 despite never obtaining a UN mandate and not obtaining Damascus’ approval.
At least 70 civilians were killed or wounded as a result of air strikes launched by a US-led international coalition on the Syrian village of Baghuz in the south-east of the country, Syria state television reported, citing local sources.
Syrian media have continually reported on the death of civilians which were killed in US-led coalition strikes. The coalition regularly carries out airstrikes in Deir ez-Zor region.
Syrian authorities have repeatedly called on the United Nations to hold those responsible for the civilian casualties accountable and put an end to the US-led coalition's unauthorized presence in Syrian territory.
On Monday, Syrian media reported the death of 20 civilians in Baghuz as a result of a coalition airstrike.
Last Saturday, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the start of an operation aimed at liberating Baghuz from the terrorist group Daesh*. The SDF claims that the village is the last settlement held by Daesh in Syria.
The US-led coalition of more than 70 countries has been conducting airstrikes on Daesh positions since 2014, in a mission that was authorised neither by the Syrian government nor the UN Security Council.
*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia
The offensive was launched on Monday and is touted as an attempt to capture the last remaining territory held by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist group on Syria’s border with Iraq. Al-Baghuz Fawqani is a small town on the Euphrates River that had a population of some 10,000 before the war in the country started in 2011.
The forces of the Kurd-dominated SDF are being supported by the US-led coalition, which provides air support to the militias on the ground. According to SANA, the Syrian government news agency, at least 70 civilians were killed or injured on the outskirts of the town by the airstrikes.
One of the targets for the warplanes was a local mosque, which, the coalition says, has been repurposed by the terrorists as a command and control facility, from which car-bomb attacks against the Kurdish forces were directed. In a statement UK Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika said this made the mosque a legitimate target not protected by international law.
Decisions to conduct attacks near or against public facilities are risky for military commanders, as the coalition itself found out in March 2017, when one of its airstrikes killed dozens of civilians hiding in a mosque. The US military initially denied hitting the building despite mounting evidence to the contrary, but later acknowledged that they failed to take necessary precaution when targeting a meeting of Al Qaeda members nearby.
Last year the coalition reported targeting mosques in IS-held part in eastern Syria with a similar justification. In October, an airstrike hit the prayer house in Al-Susah village, reportedly killing dozens of relatives of militants controlling the city. The coalition insisted it was targeting combatants. In December, a mosque in the town of Hajin was attacked as part of the SDF advancement along the Euphrates.
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