U.S. Strikes Killed Nearly 500 Civilians in 2017, Pentagon Says
Jun 03 2018
The Pentagon has told Congress it estimates that almost 500 civilians were killed as a result of USA military actions in the first year of the Trump administration.
Contributing to the inaccurate picture of civilian deaths is the Pentagon's failure to actually investigate claims of such casualties, says Daphne Eviatar, director of security with human rights at Amnesty International USA.
However, the report adds that "more than 450 reports of civilian casualties from 2017 remained to be assessed", meaning the number of civilian casualties caused by United States military operations could go up.
"Despite the best efforts of USA forces, civilian casualties are a tragic but at times unavoidable effect of combat operations", the Pentagon said, attributing the casualties to the use of human shields and other endangering tactics by Daesh and al-Qaeda in urban areas.
It noted that a total of 499 persons were killed and 169 injured and cautioned that "more than 450 reports of civilian casualties from 2017 remained to be assessed", and indication the overall total could increase.
According to USA media reports, airstrikes carried out by US military in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan saw a significant uptick since Trump's inauguration, up by 28.7 percent in Syria and Iraq and 22.6 in Afghanistan year-on-year.
Regime shelling and air strikes killed 77 civilians in May, it said, while 19 had died in air raids by regime ally Russian Federation.
The report was delivered under a mandate signed into effect by executive order by then-President Barack Obama in 2016.
The summery was also to include "the range of assessed combatant and non-combatant deaths resulting from those strikes", and was to be made public "annually on May 1, consistent with the need to protect sources and methods".
Fewer civilians died in May than in any other month of Syria's seven-year war, a monitor said Friday, with less than 250 civilians killed across the country. It added that "these differences result from a variety of factors", including the use of "different types of information and different methodologies to assess whether civilian casualties have occurred", according to CNN.