Syria: New crimes by US-coalition against civilians in Deir Ezzor

Airstrikes by the U.S.-led military coalition killed at least 30 people in the eastern Syria’s province of Deir Ezzor on Monday, including women and children, residents and activists said, in a new chapter of the coalition crimes in Syria and Iraq.

At the height of its power two years ago, Islamic State ruled over millions of people in territory running from northern Syria through towns and villages along the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys to the outskirts of Baghdad in Iraq.

However, ISIS’s territory is shrinking rapidly since last year as the US-led coalition, the Turkish-backed forces, and the Russian-backed Assad regime forces have fierce fights against its forces in both Syria and Iraq.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance, which is dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia, is supported by the US as the latter uses them in its war against ISIS.

Air strikes carried out by the US-led coalition supported the military operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, but the facts on the ground reveal that no enough measures were taken to prevent civilians’ deaths, as hundreds of civilians have been killed by the coalition airstrikes since the operations started.

Civilians killed in Deir Ezzor

activists said the airstrike late Monday in Boukamal, on the Iraqi border, was similar to those carried out by the U.S.-led coalition that has been targeting ISIS in both countries. Airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition have killed dozens of civilians over the past several weeks as the battle against ISIS intensifies.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the airstrike killed 13 civilians, including women and children, as well as three Iraqi ISIS fighters.

Opposition activist Omar Abu Laila, who currently lives in Europe but is from the province where the strike took place and maintains contacts there, said 10 people were killed, including an Iraqi family of four. He said ISIS cordoned off the area and cut all telecommunications after the strike, which heavily damaged at least four buildings.

“The number of casualties is huge,” Abu Laila said, adding that mosque loudspeakers were used to urge people to head to hospitals to donate blood.

An activist in touch with relatives in al-Bukamal said at least three homes had been flattened in the residential Hay al Masriya district of the town and at least 30 people, mostly women, and children from six families, had been killed.

A second former resident of the town gave a similar figure and said it was likely to rise, with several critical cases among the scores of people injured.

Amaq news agency, which is affiliated to the militants, released a video that it said showed extensive damage to a whole string of houses inside the city with rescuers treating children.

Earlier Tuesday, a U.S.-led coalition strike killed seven civilians, including a child, in the village of Husseinyeh, SOHR added.

The SOHR published a report on April 11, saying that the civilians’ death toll, who were killed in coalition strikes, reached 224, including 38 children under the age of eighteen and 37 women, they were killed and documented by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights from the 1st of March 2017 until the 10th of April 2017.

Attack on a “peaceful mosque” in Aleppo

More than 40 civilians were killed by US-coalition airstrikes on a mosque in Syria’s Aleppo province on March 17, while the US administration said they were targeting terrorists.

Dozens of people have been killed after fighter jets struck a packed mosque during prayer time in a rebel-held village in northern Syria, according to a monitoring group and activists.

The Observatory said the air raids in al-Jina, southwest of Atarib, in the western countryside of Aleppo, killed at least 42 people and wounded dozens.

The village is located in one of the main rebel-held parts of Syria, the northwest that includes Idlib province and the western parts of Aleppo province, and its population has been swollen by refugees, according to United Nations agencies.

The jets reportedly struck at the time of evening prayer so the mosque was full of worshippers, with local activists saying up to 300 people were inside at the time of the air raids.

Human Rights Watch said in a report Tuesday that U.S. forces appear to have failed to take necessary precautions to avoid civilian casualties in this incident.

U.S. official said at the time that the March 16 airstrike struck an al Qaeda gathering, killing dozens of militants. Syrian opposition activists said around 40 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the crowded Omar Ibn al-Khattab Mosque in the Jeeneh district. U.S. officials at the time said they found no basis for reports that civilians were killed.

Human Rights Watch’s 16-page report said it found no evidence to support the allegation that members of al Qaeda or any other armed group were meeting in the mosque. It said a religious lecture was being held at the time of the attack and prayers were about to begin.

The report raises serious questions about the intelligence the U.S. had leading up to the strike, and the use of a “double tap” — a second strike not long after the first that HRW says killed numerous civilians who were running out of the complex, or toward it to assist in rescue efforts.

“The U.S. seems to have gotten several things fundamentally wrong in this attack, and dozens of civilians paid the price,” said Ole Solvang, deputy emergencies director at Human Rights Watch. “The U.S. authorities need to figure out what went wrong, start doing their homework before they launch attacks, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.