The US-led coalition issued a press release on Thursday (July 26) accepting responsibility for all civilian deaths documented in Amnesty International’s June 5th report into the aerial bombardment of Raqqa, Amnesty International said.
“After weeks of obfuscation and denials, the US-led coalition has finally admitted responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of civilians in Raqqa. Raqqa’s residents have faced years of unimaginable suffering, first under the brutal rule of ISIS, and then under relentless bombardment from the coalition, whose operation to retake the city left it in ruins.” Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, said.
“The Coalition’s response points to the importance of site visits and in-person interviews as part of any credible investigation. We will be urging the Coalition to systematically do their own more meaningful investigations in the future, ensure full accountability for violations, and provide compensation and assistance to the victims who have suffered so tremendously from the assault on their city.” Daphne Eviatar, Amnesty International USA’s Director of Security with Human Rights stated.
The US-led coalition acknowledged the deaths of 1,059 civilians from its aerial bombings against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
The coalition said its jet fighters conducted 29,826 strikes between August 2014 and June of this year.
In its Thursday statement, the coalition said it finished assessing 125 civilian casualty reports and determined 16 of them were credible, three were duplicates, and the other 106 were not credible.
Another 234 reports are still being investigated, according to the coalition.
The statement claimed the coalition took “necessary precautions” to ensure its strikes followed the law of armed conflict, but “unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.”
“Throughout our air and ground campaigns, we have used deliberate targeting and strike processes to minimize the impact of our operations on civilian populations and infrastructure,” the coalition statement read.
The announcement came amid calls for updated figures from rights organizations, which have long accused the coalition of significantly undercounting the number of civilians it has killed during years of fighting against ISIS.