A new assessment released Thursday by a human rights monitor on the ground in Syria reveals that in addition to the confirmed death of hundreds of soldiers aligned with either the Islamic State (ISIS) or the al Nusra Front that have been killed by U.S.-led airstrikes over the last month, dozens of civilians have also been killed in the bombings, including innocent men, women and children.
According to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, 553 people have been killed airstrikes conducted by the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes between September 23, when the strikes first began, and Wednesday, October 22. Of those, the group reports, at least 32 were civilians, including 6 children and 5 women. In addition, the SOHR believes the number of casualties is much higher, but based its latest assessment only on those deaths it could positively confirm.
The group also notes the coalition airstrikes consistently targeted oil fields in the countrysides of Der-Ezzor, al-Hasakah, and al-Raqqa which led to material damages and devastated oil refineries which have negatively impacted the local population. U.S. military officials have said they have targeted those facilities because they have been taken over by ISIS, but SOHR points out that civilians in those regions own those facilities and now face lack of fuel supplies and increased costs.
As the Associated Press reports, "The U.S.-led coalition has aggressively targeted IS-held oil facilities in Syria, which provide a key source of income for the militants. But such strikes also endanger civilians, which could undermine long-term efforts to destroy the militant group."