DEATH TRAP: Syrian government forces have killed an estimated 3,273 civilians nationwide since the beginning of US-led airstrikes in Syria on September 23, a total that is 30 times the number killed by the Islamic State (IS) in the same period, according to pro-opposition monitoring group the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR).
The numbers, which could not be independently verified, underscore widespread bitterness within the Syrian opposition regarding the US-led coalition’s decision to exclude regime positions from airstrikes despite the fact that government forces continue to inflict the vast majority of civilian casualties.
The exclusive focus on jihadist groups has been a point of friction between the US and regional partners, with Turkey insisting that a strategy to defeat IS must also target the Syrian regime.
The death toll incurred by government forces is primarily due to indiscriminate aerial bombardment of civilian areas, including with highly destructive, imprecise barrel bombs, while IS has killed civilians in ground clashes and high-profile public executions.
In addition to the 3,273 civilians killed by government forces and 117 killed by IS, SNHR indicated that coalition airstrikes have killed 40 civilians and non-ISIS opposition groups have killed 123.
Despite the relative infrequency of civilian casualties from coalition airstrikes, these deaths loom large amongst a population deeply suspicious of Western motives.
–December 15, 2014
-Photo courtesy of @snhr.
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