There are reports of dozens of civilian deaths as a result of a coalition-U.S. air strike. Syria civilian human rights observers state that ISIS-strongholds around Manbij, such as al-Tukhar, have been scenes of intense bombing, as reported by Amnesty International and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
A coalition-U.S. air strike campaign conducted in the Manbij area over the past two days is said to have resulted in the deaths of at least 60 civilians. According to CBS News, Kurdish fighters with the Syria Democrat Forces, backed by the U.S. and coalition air strikes, have been attempting to retake Manbij and the surrounding villages from ISIS.
The Observatory states that 104 civilians have been killed in Manbij and the surrounding area since the U.S.-led air strike campaign began at the end of May. Almost half of the Syrian civilian deaths are reported to be “women and children.” In addition to the 104 deaths as a result of U.S. coalition forces in Syria, civilians accounted for 137 deaths attributed to ISIS activity; this total is reported to include 39 children and 26 adult women.
The Observatory has called on the U.S.-led coalition conducting the air strikes in Syria to be “very careful” when operating near Manbij as “tens of thousands of civilians” live in the city. The group is concerned about “inaccurate air and missile strikes,” which it states may be responsible for “massacres against civilians.”
Amnesty International reports that more than 100 Syrian civilians have been killed in Manbij and the surrounding area since June.
A spokesperson for the human rights organization, Magdalena Mughrabi, spoke about the loss of life occurring in the al-Tukhar village, located near Manbij.
“The bombing of al-Tukhar may have resulted in the largest loss of civilian life by coalition operations in Syria. There must be a prompt, independent and transparent investigation to determine what happened, who was responsible, and how to avoid further needless loss of civilian life. Anyone responsible for violations of international humanitarian law must be brought to justice and victims and their families should receive full reparation.”
The group reports that as many as 60 civilians may have been killed in al-Tukhar in recent weeks, but the actual number may prove “to be difficult to document.” United States Central Command reports that it conducted operations on July 18, and the U.S air strike was witnessed by both Syria and Iraq. Eighteen air strikes were reported to have been staged and were possibly responsible, or partially so, for the 60 civilian deaths in recent days near Manbij.
Amnesty International states that in the majority of cases where civilian deaths and casualties have been properly and credibly reported that the U.S.-led coalition “dismissed” the allegations.
In total, Amnesty International estimates that there have been “hundreds” of civilian deaths as a result of coalition and U.S. air strikes in Syria since the mission began in 2014. The group states that coalition forces may have “violated international humanitarian law” and that it seeks “clarification” from the U.S. Central Command about other Syria air strike missions.
The National Coalition of Syrian Forces states that more than 500 civilians were killed in air strikes led by Syrian President Bashar Assad and the Russian air force carried out from July 11-19. The group also reported on the U.S. air strikes near Manbij and estimated the number of civilian deaths to be at least 95.
Oqab Yahya, with the Coalition, called on the U.S. government to “conduct an investigation” into the U.S. air strike operations in Manbij, as well as to lobby Russia to put an end to the “massacres” being committed by its army in Syria.
[Photo by Maj. Jefferson S. Heiland/U.S. Air Force via Getty Images]