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"Syrians are experiencing ever-increasing levels of death and destruction," Maya Mailer wrote for Oxfam International on Thursday. (Photo: European Commission DG ECHO/flickr/cc)

US-Led Forces Responsible for More Than 100 Syrian Civilian Deaths: Report

The Syrian Network for Human Rights claims to have evidence of the casualties in the form of witness testimony, videos, and victim names

Deirdre Fulton

The U.S.-led coalition has been responsible for the deaths of more than 100 civilians, including 11 children and 11 women, since it began bombing Islamic State targets in Syria in September, the Syrian Network for Human Rights charged this week.

According to McClatchy:

More than half those killed, 51, died on Dec. 28, when U.S. aircraft struck a building housing an Islamic State prison in the northern Syria town of Al Bab, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said.

In addition, the group said that 29 civilians have died in the bombing campaign against oil refineries, many of them primitive operations run by local families to eke out a living in a war zone that receives little or no humanitarian aid.

Both the human rights group and McClatchy noted that U.S. Central Command has been evasive with regard to civilian casualties.

Claiming to have evidence of its claims in the form of witness testimony, videos, and victim names, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said: "There should be serious pursuit and investigation to hold the responsible accountable," and to compensate the families of victims.

There is no doubt the war-torn nation is reeling, and civilians face threats from many directions.

As 21 humanitarian and human rights organizations documented in a report launched Thursday, Failing Syria, "Syrians are experiencing ever-increasing levels of death and destruction," Maya Mailer wrote for Oxfam International, among those which led the study.

"Civilians continue to be indiscriminately attacked, despite the passage in February 2014 of what was thought to be a landmark UN Security Council Resolution demanding an end to such attacks," she pointed out. "In fact, 2014 was the deadliest year of the conflict, with reports of at least 76,000 people killed. So much for grand demands from the great powers that sit on the UN Security Council."

Mailer continued:

In what was a middle-income country, 11.6 million people are in need of clean water. Some 3.7 million are refugees. What I try to hang on to, and I admit it’s not always easy, is that behind these colossal numbers are millions of individual lives that have been shattered. These are farmers, teachers, students, musicians—ordinary people like you and me—fighting for survival and battling for normality.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Center for Policy Research—marking four years since the start of the war—released a UN-backed report on Thursday showing how the conflict has led to the "systematic collapse and destruction" of the country's economic foundations and plunged 80 percent of its people into poverty.

"As huge swatches of the community have lost the opportunity to work and earn an income, just over 4 in 5 Syrians now live in poverty," the report said. "As it has become a country of poor people, 30 [percent] of the population have descended into abject poverty where households struggle to meet the basic food needs to sustain bare life."

And McClatchy reports that 130 humanitarian aid groups released a study on Wednesday that showed that the use of electricity at night in Syria is down by 83 percent since March 2011.

According to the news agency: "In Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city, 97 percent of the lights have gone out, said Dr. Xi Li, a scientist based at Wuhan University in China and the University of Maryland. Even in Damascus, the Syrian capital, the use of lights at night is down by 35 percent. He said the situation in Syria was worse than even Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, when the country lost 80 percent of its night light."


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