A new Daily Beast/Airwars investigation has revealed that civilian death tolls from U.S.-led airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria have doubled under the Trump administration as opposed to the Obama years.
According to the study, more than 2,200 civilians have been killed by coalition airstrikes since Trump inaugurated. During Obama’s entire time as president, 2.300 civilians were killed by airstrikes, equaling around 80 per month. Since Trump’s inauguration, the civilian monthly death toll equals around 360 per month.
From The Daily Beast:
The high civilian toll in part reflects the brutal final stages of the war, with the densely populated cities of Mosul and Raqqa under heavy assault by air and land. But there are also indications that under President Trump, protections for civilians on the battlefield may have been lessened—with immediate and disastrous results. Coalition officials insist they have taken great care to avoid civilian deaths, blaming the rise instead on the shifting geography of battles in both Iraq and Syria and Islamic State tactics, and not on a change in strategy.
Either way, the civilian death toll is set to double under Trump in his first six months in office.
— Sky Palma (@DeadStateTweets) July 17, 2017
“Remarkably, when I interview families at camps who have just fled the fighting, the first thing they complain about is not the three horrific years they spent under ISIS, or the last months of no food or clean water, but the American airstrikes,” Human Rights Watch’s Belkis Wille told The Daily Beast.
“Many told me that they survived such hardship, and almost made it out with the families, only to lose all their loved ones in a strike before they had time to flee,” he added.
When Trump became president, one of the first things he did was to implement a new plan to combat ISIS, which included “changes to any United States rules of engagement and other United States policy restrictions that exceed the requirements of international law regarding the use of force against ISIS.”
In short, Trump was demanding that the Pentagon take a fresh look at protections for civilians on the battlefield except those specifically required by international law. That represented a major shift from decades of U.S. military doctrine, which has generally made central the protection of civilians in war.
Read the full report here.
Featured image via Flickr