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The US is killing hundreds of Iraqi, Syrian civilians

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THEME:   LIFE STYLE, NATION, WORLD

By Serge K | February 1, 2016 6:47 pm

 

Before the war, villagers got a little money from the government to look after the national park on Mount Abdul-Aziz, a barren rock that rises 3,000 feet behind the village and stretches miles into the distance. Mount Abdul-Aziz is named after a lieutenant of the 12th-Century Muslim warrior Saladin, who built a fort to dominate the plain below.

US is killing more civilians in Iraq and Syria

US is killing more civilians in Iraq and Syria

There is a military base there today too, which changes hands according to the fortunes of Syria’s civil war. In 2011, the regime of Bashar al-Assad held the base; next it was the rebels of the Free Syrian Army; then the so-called “Islamic State” (IS); and finally the Kurds, who advanced and took the mountain last May under the cover of American warplanes.

Al Gharra is a mud-brick village built on hard, flat Syrian desert and populated by the descendants of Bedouin. It is a desolate place. Everything is dun colored: the bare, single-story houses and the stony desert they stand on. There is not much farming — it is too dry — just a few patches of cotton and tobacco.

After 15 months and more than 8,400 airstrikes across Syria and Iraq the Pentagon now acknowledges that a total of six civilians, including three children, may have died from these attacks. That tiny figure has elicited a great deal of skepticism among Airwars, which tracks U.S.-led airstrikes against ISIS.

“Please, let’s not delude ourselves,” said Chris Woods, the director of the organization. “We’ve killed hundreds of civilians already. And we’ll likely kill hundreds more.”

 The conventional wisdom is that bombing must increase support for the Islamic State. The conventional wisdom may be wrong, although it is hard to be sure as there is no way to measure public opinion in the “Caliphate.” In the early days of the campaign in Syria, there were some anti-coalition demonstrations with placards declaring: “This is a war on all Sunnis.” But they may have been orchestrated, with people press-ganged to attend. There have been few, if any, large and spontaneous popular protests against the bombing. That maybe because the coalition has killed relatively few noncombatants in Syria compared to the Islamic State and the regime. In January 2015, a group of Syrian doctors said that indiscriminate air attacks by the regime caused 80 percent of civilian casualties, while the Islamic State caused 15 percent,

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