The official amount of the city of Raqqa “liberated” has remained stuck at 45% for weeks now, and Col. Ryan Dillon is the latest in a long line of US officials to predict a “tough battle” ahead for control of the ISIS capital city.
That’s going to be tough on ISIS, and on the Kurdish forces the US is backing, but especially tough on the civilian population, with growing numbers of critics and human rights groups complaining that the US is making little to no effort to limit civilian deaths in the Raqqa air war.
This was a recurring problem in US-backed offensives in Iraq, where cities like Mosul and Ramadi saw precipitously high civilian death tolls as the result of US airstrikes. Officially, the US has assured that they are taking extreme measures to protect civilians, and has given an official death toll that’s about a factor of ten below the real figure.
On top of lying about the size of the civilian toll, however, this Pentagon narrative has also gotten them off the hook for making any real attempt to get the actual death toll down, and in Raqqa, as with everywhere else, fighting in an urban population means US warplanes striking at will, against whoever they think might be a combatant.