An “unprecedented” new study released on Thursday revealed that the U.S.-led bombing campaign on Raqqa, Syria in 2017 — which one military commander at the time claimed was the “most precise air campaign in history” — killed an estimated 1,600 innocent civilians while leveling the city on a scale unparalleled in recent decades.
The research collated almost two years of investigations into the assault on Raqqa, the groups said in a statement, and “gives a brutally vivid account” of the enormous number of civilian lives lost as “a direct result” of thousands of coalition air strikes and tens of thousands of US artillery strikes in Raqqa from June to October 2017.
Raqqa, Syria. Image source: Amnesty International
The report—”Rhetoric vs. Reality: How the ‘Most Precise Air Campaign in History’ Left Raqqa the Most Destroyed City in Modern Times“—is detailed on the interactive website created by investigative news organization Airwars and the human rights group Amnesty International-USA which carried out what they call the “most comprehensive investigation into civilian deaths in a modern conflict.”
The findings confirm that the U.S.-led coalition has admitted to just a fraction of the civilian carnage it has caused in Syria, even as it has boasted of the care it’s taken in avoiding such casualties and the precision of the Raqqa offensive.
According to the report:
US, UK and French forces also launched thousands of air strikes into civilian neighborhoods, scores of which resulted in mass civilian casualties.
In one tragic incident, a Coalition air strike destroyed an entire five-story residential building near Maari school in the central Harat al-Badu neighborhood in the early evening of 25 September 2017. Four families were sheltering in the basement at the time. Almost all of them – at least 32 civilians, including 20 children – were killed. A week later, a further 27 civilians – including many relatives of those killed in the earlier strike – were also killed when an air strike destroyed a nearby building.
“I saw my son die, burnt in the rubble in front of me,”