Almost 500 civilians killed in USA military operations in 2017
03 June, 2018, 18:16 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
The report which provides an estimate of the number of civilian casualties in counterterrorism operations in 2017 also said the Defense Department has "no credible reports" of civilian casualties as a result of United States military operations in Somalia or Libya a year ago.
There are still "450 reports of civilian casualties", however, that "remained to be assessed", indicating the Pentagon itself could increase the toll.
"The Department of Defense (DoD) assesses that there are credible reports of approximately 499 civilians killed and approximately 169 civilians injured during 2017", the report said, noting military operations against Daesh terror group in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen, and against Taliban in Afghanistan and al-Qaeda in Yemen. The civilians were killed in operations around the world, from Somalia to Yemen to Syria. "The U.S. Government shall maintain and promote best practices that reduce the likelihood of civilian casualties, take appropriate steps when such casualties occur, and draw lessons from our operations to further enhance the protection of civilians".
During the first year of the Trump presidency, bombing operations in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan were all stepped up.
The Pentagon says it has not received any "credible reports" of civilian casualties in two other countries, Libya and Somalia. In Iraq and Syria, 39,577 bombs were released in 2017, up from 30,743 in 2016.
The report does not list any civilian casualties in Somalia, where nongovernmental organisations and local officials have pinned scores of civilian deaths on USA or US -backed military actions.
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The report was delivered under a mandate signed into effect by executive order by then-President Barack Obama in 2016.
"Civilian casualties are a tragic and at times unavoidable effect of the use of force in situations of armed conflict or in the exercise of a state's inherent right of self-defense", Obama stated in the order.
Monitoring group Airwars reported that between 3,923 and 6,102 civilians were killed by the USA -led coalition in Iraq and Syria alone in 2017, representing a rise of more than 200 percent on the previous year.
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