Rising Toll on Civilians Haunts Victories against ISIS

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The fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq is nearing its second major victory this year as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – an allied anti-ISIS militia umbrella group – close in on the last remaining pockets of ISIS forces in their self-proclaimed “capital” of Raqqa. The success of the SDF mission in Raqqa, combined with the group’s defeat in the Iraqi city of Mosul this July, will mark a major win for the Trump Administration’s military policy and signal that the end is near for ISIS’ physical “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria.

However, these military gains have come at a cost. According to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), over 600 civilians have been unintentionally killed by coalition strikes since the beginning of the war against ISIS in 2014, but the independent UK-based monitor Airwars claims that the number is actually more than 5,000, with nearly 60 percent of those deaths occurring since Donald Trump took office eight months ago.

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