An F/A-18E Super Hornet takes off from the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower on October 23, 2016 in the Persian Gulf. (Photo by AFP)
The US military has admitted to killing 220 civilians in airstrikes in Iraq
since 2014, but reports by independent monitoring groups point to more staggering figures.
The military released figures on Saturday after the deaths of 21 civilians during nine separate raids against various targets in the two counties between November and January.
“Although the Coalition takes extraordinary efforts to strike military targets in a manner that minimizes the risk of civilian casualties, in some incidents casualties are unavoidable,” it claimed.
According to monitoring group Airwars, at least 2,463 civilians have been killed in US-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since the start of operations in 2014.
Enlisting the help of dozens of allies, the US started pounding Iraq and Syria in a purported effort to root out the Takfiri terror group. Those operations have widely been criticized by both countries for falling short of their announced objectives.
At intervals, US troops have airdropped weapons among the territory held by Daesh terrorists in the face of advances by government forces, triggering suspicions of deliberate American aid to the Takfiri extremists.
An Iraqi soldier gestures as forces advance near the village of Husseinyah south of Mosul, February 20, 2017, during an offensive to retake the city’s western side. (Photo by AFP)
Until February 28, the so-called coalition led by the US had carried out 18,666 sorties since the start of the operation.
In October 2015, well into the onset of the offensive, Russia expressed concern that Daesh had grown in strength since the US started the bombing campaign.
“The territory ISIL (Daesh) is controlling in Iraq has not shrunk as a result of the airstrikes the coalition has been delivering for over a year. The number of militants has grown,” director of Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for New Threats and Challenges Ilya Rogachyov said at the time.
“So, what have they been bombing? The air superiority which is not questioned by anyone or anything should have had an impact on such things as crude exports. The coalition’s Air Force is not efficient by these parameters,” the official noted.