Tabnak - During more than the two years of international military campaigns in Iraq and Syria, humanitarian concerns have always been one of the main points of attention in devising anti-terrorist strategies in the two countries. Recent reports of heavy civilian deaths in one of US’ airstrikes in Raqqa, have further added to the concerns in this regard.
Local Syrian sources say that nearly three dozen civilians have lost their lives when the US-led coalition purportedly fighting ISIS terrorist group carried out an airstrike against a school used as a center for displaced people in Syria's troubled and militant-held northern province of Raqqa.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that the airstrike targeted south of the ISIS-held Mansurah town, located about 30 kilometers west of the provincial capital city of Raqqa, in the early hours of Tuesday.
"We can now confirm that 33 people were killed, and they were displaced civilians from Raqqa, Aleppo and Homs,” SOHR head Rami Abdel Rahman said on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, al-Baladi news website affiliated to the dissidents reported that the attacks killed more than 200 civilians and wounded tens of people, many of them in critical conditions.
Local sources said that there were no more treatment facilities left in the ISIS-held areas and all bridges and roads had been destroyed, adding that there was no hospital in the southern parts of Raqqa either.
"Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently,” an activist group that publishes news from the ISIS-controlled Syrian city, said the targeted school hosted nearly 50 displaced families.
Also on Monday, the US-led coalition fighter jets launched another round of air assault on civilian areas in al-Tabaqa region in Western Raqqa, killing at least 18 Syrian people.
Furthermore, at least 10 civilians were killed and several others injured on March 12, when the US-led military aircraft bombarded the town of Maskanah, located 100 kilometers southeast of the northwestern city of Aleppo.
Earlier this month, the US-led coalition said its raids in Syria and Iraq had "unintentionally” killed at least 220 civilians. But other monitors say the number is far higher. More than 320,000 people have been killed and millions more displaced since Syria’s conflict erupted in March 2011.
This is while, according to the "Guardian”, top officials from the 68-nation alliance fighting ISIS are to meet in Washington on Wednesday to hear more about Donald Trump’s plan to destroy the terrorists’ remaining strongholds in Iraq and Syria.
The US president has ordered his generals to craft an accelerated strategy to "eradicate” ISIS’ self-proclaimed caliphate, and allied countries are keen to learn more at Wednesday’s meeting.
In a report of the latest US airstrike, the "New York Times” writes that the recent incidents have raised concerns about whether the US military has become less careful, or less selective, in its targeting. President Trump repeatedly said during his campaign that he would loosen restrictions, designed to protect civilians in attacks against ISIS and other extremist groups.
So, one could reasonably ask whether targeting civilians is an early demonstration of Trump’s new strategy regarding military operations in Iraq and Syria!