Re­port crit­i­cizes lack of trans­parency

U.S.-led coali­tion says 173 dead since sum­mer 2014; re­port says 1,500

The Denver Post - - NEWS NATION & WORLD - By Si­nan Sala­hed­din

A re­port re­leased Mon­day by Air­wars, a Lon­don-based project aimed at track­ing the U.S.-led coali­tion’s airstrikes tar­get­ing the Is­lamic State, crit­i­cized the coali­tion’s lack of trans­parency when as­sess­ing civil­ian ca­su­al­ties. Coali­tion airstrikes have been crit­i­cal in the fight against the Is­lamic State in Iraq, where Iraqi forces are try­ing to push the mil­i­tant group out of Mo­sul.

Al­though U.S. of­fi­cials have ac­knowl­edged that 173 civil­ians have died in coali­tion airstrikes since the launch of the cam­paign against the Is­lamic State in sum­mer 2014, the Air­wars group says the num­ber of civil­ian ca­su­al­ties is much greater: at least 1,500.

The Air­wars project said the dis­crep­ancy in the num­bers of ac­knowl­edged civil­ian ca­su­al­ties is par­tially the re­sult of how civil­ian deaths are in­ves­ti­gated. As­sess­ments car­ried out by the coali­tion are “opaque, ad hoc and sig­nif­i­cantly bi­ased to­ward in­ter­nal mil­i­tary re­port­ing,” the group said.

The coali­tion has been crit­i­cized re­peat­edly for the slow pace of in­ves­ti­ga­tions into civil­ian ca­su­al­ties in the fight against the Is­lamic State. The coali­tion has car­ried out more than 16,500 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Is­lamic State tar­gets since the fight against the mil­i­tant group was launched more than two years ago.

In Mo­sul, Iraqi forces con­tinue a slow ad­vance on the city’s east­ern front. Dur­ing meet­ings with Iraqi mil­i­tary com­man­ders south of Mo­sul Mon­day, Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-Abadi em­pha­sized the op­er­a­tion is be­ing waged to re­duce ca­su­al­ties among Iraqi troops and civil­ians, ac­cord­ing to a writ­ten state­ment re­leased by his of­fice.

Iraqi forces in­side Mo­sul were more op­ti­mistic about the pace of the fight.

“Within days we will be ad­vanc­ing to­ward the six re­main­ing dis­tricts and reach the left bank of the Ti­gris (River), mean­ing we will have lib­er­ated the whole of the east side of Mo­sul,” said Iraqi spe­cial forces Maj. Gen. Maan al-Saadi in Mo­sul’s east­ern Nour neigh­bor­hood on Sun­day.

In Fal­lu­jah, two sui­cide car bomb­ings tar­get­ing se­cu­rity check­points in Fal­lu­jah killed at least two peo­ple Sun­day, ac­cord­ing to In­te­rior Min­istry spokesman Brig. Gen Saad Maan. He said the at­tacks killed a civil­ian and a po­lice­man and wounded seven.

A lo­cal po­lice of­fi­cer and a med­i­cal of­fi­cial put the ca­su­alty toll at three killed and 11 wounded. They spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they’re not au­tho­rized to talk to re­porters.

The Is­lamic State claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tacks in a state­ment. The au­then­tic­ity of the claim couldn’t be con­firmed but it was posted on a mil­i­tant web­site com­monly used by the ex­trem­ists.

Last month, the Is­lamic State launched three sui­cide at­tacks in and near Fal­lu­jah, killing at least 16 peo­ple. Fal­lu­jah was re­cap­tured from the Is­lamic State in June.

Rwa Faisal, The Associated Press

Smoke rises from Is­lamic State po­si­tions af­ter an airstrike by U.S.-led coali­tion war­planes in Fal­lu­jah, Iraq, in May.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.