If Syria and Iraq are the model of “success,” Trump’s war expansion should terrify Afghan civilians.
As President Donald Trump expands the war in Afghanistan, which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday is partly inspired by “successful” tactics used in the war against the Islamic State (ISIS), Reuters reports that in the past week alone, more than 170 civilians were killed by U.S.-led airstrikes in Raqqa, a Syrian city ISIS considers its capitol.
“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,” Reuters reports. The observatory claims this marks the single largest daily death toll since the U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of Kurdish and Arab militias, began their mission to capture Raqqa in June.
“I think we’re taking a lot of lessons learned from our success there, and we’ll translate those to Afghanistan,” Tillerson added.
Considering estimates that civilian casualties will double under Trump in the U.S.-led war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, activists and commentators argue the president’s decision to “expand authority for American armed forces” in Afghanistan—which reportedly includes sending 4,000 more troops—”will only continue this upward trend of civilian casualties,” as Common Dreams reported Tuesday.
Shortly after the U.S.-led coalition launched its offensive to capture Raqqa, a United Nations investigator said that intensified airstrikes by the coalition were responsible for a “staggering loss of civilian life” in the city, Common Dreams reported in June.
“The United States is now one of the deadliest warring parties in Syria,” Laura Gottesdiener wrote for TomDispatch last month. Citing reports and photographs from Syrian journalists and activists, as well as first-person accounts from family members of Raqqa civilians, Gottesdiener observed that the American offensive “looks a lot less like a battle against the Islamic State and a lot more like a war on civilians.”
Summarizing coalition action as it prepared to launch its “much-anticipated offensive,” Gottesdiener wrote:
These human rights groups and local reporters say that, across Syria in recent months, the U.S.-led coalition and U.S. Marines have bombed or shelled at least 12 schools, including primary schools and a girls’ high school; a health clinic and an obstetrics hospital; Raqqa’s Science College; residential neighborhoods; bakeries; post offices; a car wash; at least 15 mosques; a cultural center; a gas station; cars carrying civilians to the hospital; a funeral; water tanks; at least 15 bridges; a makeshift refugee camp; the ancient Rafiqah Wall that dates back to the eighth century; and an Internet café in Raqqa, where a Syrian media activist was killed as he was trying to smuggle news out of the besieged city.
“Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently,” a citizen journalist group, told Reuters that since the Raqqa offensive began, at least 946 civilians have been killed. Tuesday, the group tweeted recent details and photos documenting the carnage of the U.S.-backed bombing:
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