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,”
It is an attempt to make the whole world “get used to the fact” that in the new American-centered world order, where the US and their satellites are allowed to violate the basic provisions of the UN Charter and the entire international law brazenly and with impunity.
Today is the tragic date: 20 years ago, on March 24, US-led NATO coalition forces launched a war against Yugoslavia justifying it using a provocation in the Kosovar village of Racak (later investigation proved that the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) organized the provocation).
We have discussed this international crime for a long time and in great detail in the series of articles published in the newspaper Zavtra (Tomorrow), in the reports of the Soderzhatelnoe Edinstvo (Substantive Unity) discussion club, in the TV program called Sud Vremeni (The Judgment of Time) featuring Sergey Kurginyan, episode 27. Here is just a brief outline of the main objectives of the perpetrators (primarily the US) and the strategic implications of these crimes.
The main objectives of organizing the war against Yugoslavia “for the sake of Kosovo” were:
1. Destabilizing Europe by activating the “Balkan Knot”, which historically has always been a place of explosive conflict. It should be noted that this “Balkan War”, as acknowledged by many Western experts, slowed the EU’s consolidation process for a long time, and in particular, the implementation of plans to create a single European currency as an alternative to the dollar.
2. Forming cesspool of terrorism and international organized crime in Europe (and much more painful than the one created in Bosnia). Islamic terrorist activity in Kosovo with roots in Northern Africa, Chechnya, and Afghanistan has long been investigated, and it is well known, along with the fact that Albanian criminal leaders have seized the leading positions in organized crime all over Europe.
3. A blatant and demonstrative crackdown against Yugoslavia as one Russia’s most enduring allies in the Balkans, its political system and armed forces. Therefore, humiliating Russia and weakening its geopolitical position.
4. An unprecedented flagrant violation of international law in the middle of Europe. Including a military attack on Yugoslavia, a sovereign European country,
Carried out under a false pretext and in disregard of the UN, the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 paved the way for similar US-led operations in Iraq, Libya and elsewhere and over a million were killed, an analyst has told RT.
NATO’s attack 20 years ago, which was launched “without declaring war and without any permission from the UN Security Council, was a transformative act which has changed the world ever since,” Marko Gasic, commenter on international affairs, said.
“This formula… that you don’t need UN Security Council authorization was then implemented at the expense of Iraq and Libya and elsewhere. So far, the decision to bomb Yugoslavia has led to over a million casualties worldwide; and rising.”
Back in 1999, the US and its allies launched airstrikes in what was then Yugoslavia, after blaming Belgrade for “excessive and disproportionate use of force” in a conflict with an ethnic Albanian insurgency in Kosovo.
NATO warplanes carried out 900 sorties during the brutal 78-day bombing campaign, which officially claimed at least 758 civilian lives. But Serbian sources insist the actual death toll was twice as high.
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Peaceful bombing? Slobodan Samardzic, professor of political sciences at University of Belgrade
NATO had used depleted uranium in its air strikes on Yugoslavia. Despite the studies showing that children born there after the bombing are prone to cancer, “very little” has been or is being done to hold the bloc accountable, Gasic said.
The Yugoslav authorities tried suing NATO, but its “response was to create a ‘Color Revolution’ (in 2000) there and bring its own puppets to power… who abandoned the lawsuit.”
“The world community really needs to take NATO to task. And If Serbia is too weak to do it, we need other countries to take an interest. If they don’t defend Serbia – it’ll be their borders next that NATO will be coming for,” the analyst warned.
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Back in 2016, The Guardian published a piece about The Chilcott Report and how Britain should be more careful over civilian deaths in the battlegrounds of the Mid-East. “Future British governments must make a greater effort to assess the number of civilians being killed and injured during their military operations, the Chilcot report says, after the Iraq war inquiry’s series of damning conclusions about the loss of life following the 2003 invasion.” Clearly, the government didn’t listen and the mainstream media do not think it important enough to report on today.
Interestingly, Sir John Chilcot believed as late as 2016 that about 150,000 Iraqis were killed during the invasion and subsequent instability. The figure was in fact well over one million. This much was known years earlier. Chilcott, covering for his friend Tony Blair did not read the mounting evidence – or more likely, just ignored it. The 2006 Lancet survey calculated fatalities at well over 650,000 just three years into the conflict and the 2007 ORB survey that actually surveyed fifteen of the eighteen governorates within Iraq found that number was somewhere between 1,033,000 and a staggering 1,220,588. Since then, the violence created by the vacuum has continued and many more civilians have died. The numbers above do not include deaths after 13 years of sanctions imposed by the UN.
Many members of the general public in Britain might mistakenly think that the bombing has stopped in Iraq and Syria – but they would be wrong. In fact, in the last four years, Britain has spent over £300 million on weapons fired from its air forces, including drones. The cost does not include personnel, wages, equipment, maintenance, fuel, air bases, etc.
Analysis of data conducted by human rights group Reprieve in 2014 concluded that of 41 men targeted by coalition drone strikes a further 1,147 innocent civilians were killed simply for being in the way.
Do you remember when George Osborne as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2015 said that “the cost of extending airstrikes against Islamic State into Syria would run in the low tens of millions of pounds.” Well, it ended up in the high hundreds of millions when adding the total cost – any many people have died as a result.
This article was first published on Global Research in August 2013 as a commemoration of the egregious lie on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. See article below. (minor updates)
73 years ago, at 11:02 am on August 9th, 1945, an all-Christian bomber crew dropped a plutonium bomb, on Nagasaki, Japan. That bomb was the second and last atomic weapon that had as its target a civilian city. Somewhat ironically, as will be elaborated upon later in this essay, Nagasaki was the most Christian city in Japan and ground zero was the largest cathedral in the Orient.
These baptized and confirmed airmen did their job efficiently, and they accomplished the mission with military pride. There was no way that the crew could not have known that what they were participating in met the definition of an international war crime (according to the Nuremberg Principles that were very soon to be used to justify the execution of many German Nazis).
It had been only 3 days since the August 6th bomb, a uranium bomb, had decimated Hiroshima. The Nagasaki bomb was dropped amidst considerable chaos and confusion in Tokyo, where the fascist military government had been searching for months for a way to honorably end the war. The only obstacle to surrender had been the Roosevelt/Truman administration’s insistence on unconditional surrender, which meant that the Emperor Hirohito, whom the Japanese regarded as a deity, would be removed from his figurehead position in Japan – an intolerable demand for the Japanese that prolonged the war and kept Japan from surrendering months earlier.
The Russian army had declared war against Japan on August 8, hoping to regain territories lost to Japan in the disastrous Russo-Japanese war 40 years earlier, and Stalin’s army was advancing across Manchuria. Russia’s entry into the war represented a powerful incentive for Japan to end the war quickly and they much preferred surrendering to the US rather than to Russia. A quick end to the war was important to the US as well. It did not want to divide any of the spoils of war with Russia.
The Target Committee in Washington, D.C. had made a list of relatively un-damaged Japanese cities that were to be excluded from the conventional fire-bombing (using napalm) campaigns that had burned to the ground 60+ major Japanese cities during the first half of 1945.