World Media

Strikes killed 499 civilians in 2017, says Pentagon

Strikes killed 499 civilians in 2017, says Pentagon

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.

Of the other potential civilian casualty reports reviewed, the coalition said 149 were deemed non-credible and five were redundant.

The Pentagon said US military operations in six countries killed nearly 500 civilians in 2017, in an annual report that was released to the public for the first time on Friday.

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The report also said DOD has "no credible reports" of civilian casualties in 2017 from US military operations in Somalia or Libya.

It was the first time the Pentagon released figures for civilian casualties caused by USA military ground and air operations around the world in response to a new requirement by Congress for 2018.

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. So far, the number of civilians injured due to military operations is at 169, but that number could rise as well. 4,361 bombs were dropped in Afghanistan in 2017, compared to 1,337 in 2016.

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"This is especially true when fighting in urban areas and against adversaries like [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] and al-Qaeda who use civilians as shields and whose tactics include intentionally endangering the lives of innocents".

Delivery of the report was mandated by a 2016 executive order signed by then-President Barack Obama and by the subsequent passage of Section 1057 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.

Though Obama's order specified the report would be made public "annually on May 1", the Trump administration missed the deadline, drawing criticism from human rights groups. But data compiled by Airwars, a nonprofit that tracks reports of civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria, showed a far higher number - 6,259 since the start of the war.

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The deaths bring to "20 the number of civilians killed by the coalition in 24 hours east of the Euphrates River", said the Observatory, which relies on a network of sources across Syria for its reports.


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