Syria: US aggression on civilians flagrant violation of global law

Syria: US aggression on civilians flagrant violation of global law

Hundreds of civilians have been killed since the assault started in June, Amnesty International estimates.

Outside Raqqa, in an area south of the Euphrates River, Syrian government forces and Russian warplanes have been launching indiscriminate air bombardments against IS-controlled towns and villages, including using internationally banned cluster bombs, the report added.

"Violations by [ISIL] do not lessen the global legal obligations of other warring parties to protect civilians", Amnesty's Rovera said.

Thousands of civilians trapped in Raqqa, northern Syria, are coming under fire from all sides as the battle for control of the city enters its final stage, Amnesty International said following an in-depth investigation on the ground.

But the USA -led coalition, alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syrian regime, supported by Russian warplanes, have been responsible for many causalities in the "deadly labyrinth" of being fired upon from all sides in the city, Amnesty International said in a report issued Thursday.

It is thought that between 10,000 and 50,000 civilians remain trapped inside Raqqa, according to United Nations estimates. "Knowing that IS use civilians as human shields, SDF and US forces must redouble efforts to protect civilians". More than half of the city has been seized so far.

But the number of civilian casualties caused by coalition air strikes appears to have mounted steadily, with dozens killed this week, Syrian opposition sources say.

"There has been no military in the world's history that has paid more attention to limiting civilian casualties and the deaths of innocents on the battlefield than the coalition military, here in the last years, when precision gave us options that we never had before in history", Mattis said.

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"There is heavy shelling from the surrounding and encircling SDF forces and there are constant air raids from the coalition".

The report urged all parties to the conflict to take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians.

Ali Al-Za'tari, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, and Ramesh Rajasingham, the UN's Acting Regional Humanitarian Coordinator, expressed concern for the lives of an estimated 18,000-25,000 civilians thought to remain in IS-held districts of Raqqa city amid Islamic State attacks and "indiscriminate airstrikes".

Speaking to reporters in Baghdad on Tuesday, Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, the commander of the US-led coalition, confirmed that airstrikes in Raqqa city had increased.

In the past two weeks, US-led coalition aircraft conducted at least 592 airstrikes in Raqqa city, according to daily strike release reports.

One Daraiya resident said: "It was hell, many shells struck the area".

"Boats on the Euphrates must not be attacked, people who come out can not risk air raids when and where they come out", he said.

The monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 42 people, including 19 children and 12 women, were killed on Monday in strikes that destroyed buildings where families were sheltering.

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