BEIRUT – Airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State killed at least 29 civilians, including 14 children, in 24 hours in the jihadis' Syrian capital of Raqqa, a war monitor said late on Tuesday. The dead included a family of 14 who had fled to Raqqa from the desert city of Palmyra, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition could not immediately be reached for comment. The coalition has previously said it strenuously tries to avoid civilian casualties and investigates all reports that its strikes have killed civilians. The coalition said in July that its strikes had killed at least 600 civilians in both Iraq and Syria since it began operations in 2014, a figure that is far lower than those given by independent monitors.
The U.S. dropped an average of three bombs an hour in 2016 -- a total of 26,171 explosive devices dropped in seven countries in the past year, a report found. The report published last week comes at the close of President Barack Obama's second term as he prepares to hand power over to his successor, Donald Trump. "This estimate is undoubtedly low, considering reliable data is only available for airstrikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, and a single'strike,' according to the Pentagon's definition, can involve multiple bombs or munitions," a statement on the report by New York-based independent think tank Council on Foreign Relations read. The report said Washington dropped a total of 24,287 bombs on Syria and Iraq alone during Obama's final year in office. Other countries that the U.S. bombed include Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.
BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON – A recent spike in civilian casualties in Mosul suggests the U.S.-led coalition is not taking adequate precautions as it helps Iraqi forces battle the Islamic State group, Amnesty International said Tuesday. The rights group's allegations came after the U.S. military acknowledged carrying out a March 17 airstrike in an area of western Mosul where residents say an explosion killed more than 100 civilians. U.S. officials did not confirm there were civilian casualties, but said a probe is underway. Amnesty's report also cites a second strike on Saturday that it said killed up to 150 people. The U.S.-led coalition said in a statement that it was investigating multiple strikes in western Mosul that allegedly resulted in civilian deaths.
WASHINGTON – A senior U.S. defense official is confirming that a top Islamic State military commander was killed by a coalition airstrike in Syria on Monday. The official says that Abu Jandal al-Kuwaiti was killed near Tabqa Dam. He was a key leader of the group in Raqqa. No other details were available. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said earlier this week that he had been targeted by U.S.-led coalition aircraft.