Mounting Death Toll In Raqqa, Clandestine Torture Prisons In Yemen, And Selective Morality

Syrian Democratic Forces and U.S. Coalition Forces tightened the noose around ISIS positions in Raqqa, Syria in the effort to counter jihadist attacks. However, the bombing campaign does not employ useful targeting strategies. This issue is also prevalent in other cities such as Deir ez-Zor, where civilians are experiencing a mass exodus due to merciless aerial bombardment in and around rural towns and cities.

In Raqqa, coalition air strikes are reported to have killed more than 300 civilians, which includes 53 children. In Deir ez-Zor, where the Syrian Army is battling a sustained ISIS onslaught, the coalition has killed approximately 222 civilians, 84 of which were children.

Rami Abdul Rahman, the Director of The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), told the AFP news agency that the total deaths caused by coalition airstrikes in Syria amount to 1,953.

However, this UK-based organization, which is said to be interested in monitoring the regime change in Syria, heavily relies on reports made by the controversial group known as The White Helmets, who are masquerading as Syria’s Civil Defence. This group is said to operate unhindered in Al-Qaeda-controlled territory and is responsible for the deadliest civilian attacks in the past month.

These figures are disputed by independent journalists on the ground in Syria, as well as other NGOs who believe the figures offer a conservative estimate of civilian casualties. In addition, non-profit organizations, such as Airwars, disagree with the approximations from the Pentagon and State Department and, instead, estimate that a minimum of 4,118 to 6,360 civilian have died as a result of the U.S.’s coalition operations, both in Iraq and Syria.

As civilian casualties increase, so does international outrage. However, the U.S. and its junior partners will once again use ‘collateral damage’ as their excuse. Unfortunately, there is no standard of moral condemnation and outrage in this multifaceted conflict among the monopolized mainstream Western media, which focuses on the vilification and condemnation of the Russian Air Force, the Syrian Arab Army, Iran, and its allies as they would rather praise the rendition of the U.S. coalition’s actions against ISIS.

For example, this was evident based on the interpretations of the ‘fall of Aleppo’ to the Russian-backed Syrian Arab Army and the ‘liberation’ of Mosul by the U.S. coalition.

Furthermore, new reports by the Associated Press have also surfaced about the U.S.-supported Saudi coalition war in Yemen, which details the extensive use of U.S. military personnel and interrogators in secret UAE torture prisons scattered across Yemen. It is estimated that at least 2,000 detainees are subjected to torture and abuse without legal protection in 18 clandestine ‘black sites’ around southern Yemen.

This report has been verified by dozens of people, including former inmates, family members of people held in detention, lawyers, the Yemeni people, and U.S. defence officials. In fact, several U.S. defence officials, who spoke under anonymity, admitted that American forces participated in the interrogations of detainees in which they provided questions for others to answer and received transcripts of the interrogations from their Emirati allies. However, there was no admission about whether or not U.S. forces were supervising the reported abuses.

If more evidence emerged about the reinstatement of Bush-era CIA/Pentagon practices, this would be a serious dent to the prestige and moral standing of a nation that for decades has engorged itself upon the Middle East and promised to abandon ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ extraterritorial assassinations,  and the systematic torture of suspected terrorists and enemy combatants.