Skip to main content

50 civilians dead in US-led airstrikes against ISIS in Syria – UN



A pair of U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria, in this U.S. Air Force handout photo (Reuters/U.S. Air Force)






The US-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria has killed 865 people since the start of the airstrikes in late September, at least 50 of them civilians, a new report from the UN chief reveals.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that the strikes alone cannot defeat the militant Islamist group and cited estimates of civilian casualties caused by the bombing.

“The international coalition continued airstrikes against ISIL in Syria on a near-daily basis with reports of some 865 people killed, including 50 civilians, in Aleppo, Deir ez-Zor, Hasakeh, Idlib and Raqqa since strikes began,” the report said.


Meanwhile, the “armed opposition and designated terrorist groups continue shelling government-controlled areas, including in civilian-populated areas... including in Damascus, Homs, Hama and Quneitra,” according to the report.





UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (AFP Photo/Andrew Gombert)



Ban warned that “a military campaign alone [against the IS] could lead to further radicalization and spark a cycle of renewed violence,” adding that the Islamic State intensified its recruitment efforts inside and outside of Syria.


The document focused on the July 14 resolution, which approved delivery of aid into rebel-held areas in Syria without the government approval through the four border crossings. Ban confirmed that the UN team was able to access an average of 66 hard to reach areas per month since the resolution was passed, up from an average of 38 per month during the four months prior to the vote.

Following the report, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos told the Security Council that an estimated of 12.2 million people need assistance in Syria – a rise from 10.8 million in July. At the same time, Amos said that aid coming in from Turkey and Jordan is making a difference and called on the UNSC to extend the authorization that expires on January 9.

Critics of the US-led bombing warfare against ISIS in Iraq and Syria have asserted that not only is this tactic ineffective – it also encourages more people to join radical groups.

“It is completely unsuccessful from the standpoint of destroying ISIS, but it’s an enormous success story for ISIS. It is actually helping the Sunni Islamists recruit new people – more than a thousand every month from across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East,” retired US Army Colonel Douglas MacGregor told RT.

According to MacGregor, Washington should not step into the conflict and leave it at the regional level.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why States Still Use Barrel Bombs

Smoke ascends after a Syrian military helicopter allegedly dropped a barrel bomb over the city of Daraya on Jan. 31.(FADI DIRANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary
Barrel bombs are not especially effective weapons. They are often poorly constructed; they fail to detonate more often than other devices constructed for a similar purpose; and their lack of precision means they can have a disproportionate effect on civilian populations.

However, combatants continue to use barrel bombs in conflicts, including in recent and ongoing conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, and they are ideally suited to the requirements of resource-poor states.

Analysis


Barrel bombs are improvised devices that contain explosive filling and shrapnel packed into a container, often in a cylindrical shape such as a barrel. The devices continue to be dropped on towns all over Syria. Indeed, there have been several documented cases of their use in Iraq over the past months, and residents of the city of Mosul, which was recently …

Russia Looks East for New Oil Markets

Click to Enlarge


In the final years of the Soviet Union, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev began orienting his foreign policy toward Asia in response to a rising Japan. Putin has also piloted a much-touted pivot to Asia, coinciding with renewed U.S. interest in the area. A good expression of intent was Russia's hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2012 in Vladivostok, near Russia's borders with China and North Korea. Although its efforts in Asia have been limited by more direct interests in Russia's periphery and in Europe, Moscow recently has been able to look more to the east.

Part of this renewed interest involves finding new export markets for Russian hydrocarbons. Russia's economy relies on energy exports, particularly crude oil and natural gas exported via pipeline to the West. However, Western Europe is diversifying its energy sources as new supplies come online out of a desire to reduce its dependence on Russian energy supplies.

This has forced…

In Yemen, a Rebel Advance Could Topple the Regime

Shia loyal to the al-Houthi movement ride past Yemeni soldiers near Yaz, Yemen, in May. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


The success of a rebel campaign in northern Yemen is threatening to destabilize the already weak and overwhelmed government in Sanaa. After capturing the city of Amran, a mere 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the capital, in early July, the rebels from the al-Houthi tribe are in their strongest position yet. The Yemeni government is developing plans to divide the country into six federal regions, and the rebels believe this is their chance to claim territory for the future bargaining.

The central government is nearly powerless to fend off the rebels; its forces are already stretched thin. Neighboring Saudi Arabia has intervened in Yemen before and still supports Sunni tribes in the north, but the risk of inciting a Shiite backlash or creating space for jihadists to move in could deter another intervention.

Analysis


Followers of Zaidi Islam, a branch of Shiism, rul…