The US-led coalition fighting Daesh in Syria may have committed war crimes, a report by Amnesty International has found. According to the rights group, there was “a strong prima facie case that many coalition attacks that killed and injured civilians and destroyed homes and infrastructure violated international humanitarian law”.
The accounts detailed in the report, “War of annihilation: Devastating Toll on Civilians, Raqqa – Syria”, contradict the coalition’s claim that its forces had taken the necessary precautions to minimize civilian casualties.
Amnesty’s report is based on the conduct of American, British and French forces, detailing the coalition’s operations to oust Daesh from its so-called “capital” Raqqa. The air strikes – 90 per cent of which were carried out the by the US -killed and injured thousands of civilians and destroyed much of the city, the report found. Homes, private and public buildings and infrastructure were reduced to rubble or damaged beyond repair.
The report cited a senior US military official who said that “more artillery shells were launched into Raqqa than anywhere since the Vietnam war.”
Amnesty researchers visited 42 coalition air strike sites across the ruined city and interviewed 112 civilian residents who had survived the carnage and lost loved ones.
The report concludes that the coalition strikes detailed in the report are examples of wider patterns. The rights group has written to the defence officials in the US, UK and France seeking additional information about these cases and about other attacks.