Civilian Nightmares in Raqqa Amidst War Crimes

There is a record number of munitions being directed towards Raqqa, Syria, and the results are a large number of civilian deaths. U.S. military intervention in the Middle East has been much more harmful than beneficial, and therefore it shouldn’t continue today.

US-led Coalition forces are firing record numbers of bombs, missiles and artillery shells into besieged areas of Raqqa city – part of a bloody campaign to dislodge so-called Islamic State (ISIS) from its self proclaimed capital. The assault is also reportedly killing hundreds of trapped civilians every month – a charge the Coalition strenuously denies.

On average one Coalition bomb, missile or artillery round was fired into Raqqa every eight minutes during August, according to official data provided to Airwars. A total of 5,775 bombs, shells and missiles were launched by US-led forces into the city during the month in support of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the ground.

By way of comparison, US-led forces fired ten times more munitions into Raqqa during Augustthan were released by US aircraft across all of Afghanistan for the same month (503), according to recent data issued by Air Force Central Command (AFCENT).

Bloody fight

The SDF is now in the fourth month of a slow and bloody battle to seize Raqqa from ISIS. Yet even after announcing the capture of more than half of the city, Coalition data shows record numbers of munitions being fired – higher even than were loosed in any one month (5,500 in March) during the tough fight for West Mosul, an area far larger than Raqqa.

The intensity of the air and artillery bombardment on Raqqa – primarily by US forces – closely correlates with high casualty reports on the ground. In July, munition use and likely civilian casualties from Coalition strikes in Raqqa fell by 32 percent and 33 percent respectively. In August both munition use and reported casuialties rose steeply again.

Airwars monitoring indicates that at least 433 civilians likely died as a result of Coalition actions at Raqqa during August — more than double the number of estimated fatalities the previous month. In total more than 1,000 civilians have now credibly been reported killed since the assault began on June 6th, according to Airwars monitoring. The UN reports that an estimated 25,000 civilians remain trapped in Raqqa, prevented from fleeing by ISIS. Much of the city’s infrastructure, including its medical system, has also largely being reduced to rubble.