Amnesty International has issued a new report on the 2017 US-backed offensive against the Syrian city of Raqqa. Raqqa was the capital of the ISIS Caliphate, and was captured by US and Kurdish YPG forces in the offensive.
At least, they captured what was left of it. US and Kurdish forces engaged in what the report describes as a “war of annihilation,” destroying large parts of the city, killing civilians with impunity, and failing to investigate allegations of war crimes committed.
Raqqa as it stands now is heavy destroyed, with civilian lives still far from back to normal. Amnesty researchers say the large civilian toll in Raqqa showed something was clearly wrong, and the lack of accountability suggested the US remains “in denial” about what happened.
Pentagon officials were defiant about the death toll, saying that it was entirely ISIS’ fault, and that there was no way to avoid “collateral damage” because ISIS forces in the city were using the population as human shields.
Amnesty responded that the US could’ve relied less on airstrikes and long-range artillery if civilian proximity was an issue, but ultimately did not. Instead, it seems US officials took the excuse of human shields as a blanket get-out-of-war-crimes-free card, and kept the attacks ongoing with little regard for the deaths.