Amnesty International has condemned what it calls the U.S.-led coalition's “ongoing failure” to admit or adequately investigate its role in the deaths of civilians in Raqqa as it battled to oust Islamic State (IS) extremists from the Syrian city.
In a report released on October 15, Amnesty said the coalition’s actions represent a “slap in the face” for survivors in the city who are trying to rebuild their lives
“Disturbingly, the Pentagon does not even seem willing to offer an apology for the hundreds of civilians killed in its ‘war of annihilation’ on Raqqa,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty’s secretary-general.
“It is completely reprehensible that the coalition refuses to acknowledge its role in most of the civilian casualties it caused, and abhorrent that even where it has admitted responsibility, it accepts no obligation toward its victims.”
The Pentagon, which has criticized Amnesty's research methodology, in September issued a statement saying, “We continue to employ thorough and deliberate targeting and strike processes to minimize the impact of our operations on civilian populations and infrastructure."
IS fighters in 2015 held nearly one-third of the territory of Iraq and Syria, including major cities such as Raqqa and Mosul, and proclaimed a so-called Islamic "caliphate."
The group was internationally condemned for atrocities committed against civilians.
In October 2017, an alliance of Kurdish-Arab fighters, backed by U.S.-led coalition air strikes, pushed IS out of Raqqa and other areas.
Amnesty said hundreds of civilians were killed in the battle, most of them the result of coalition air strikes, but that the coalition has acknowledged being responsible for about 100 civilian deaths.