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Pentagon reveals over 1,100 civilians killed by US anti-IS strikes

US-led coalition said 1,114 civilians were killed during its anti-IS air strikes on Iraq and Syria since 2014 - but monitors say toll is likely much higher
Iraqis flee coalition air strike in Mosul which has cost lives of hundreds according to monitoring groups (AFP)

US coalition air strikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria have cost the lives of at least 1,114 civilians since they began their bombing campaign in 2014.

The coalition - or combined joint task force (CJTF) - for Operation "Inherent Resolve" (OIR) confirmed the death toll in a statement released on Thursday, as many Americans focused on sexual assault allegations during a hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The coalition figures put it at odds with other numbers released by monitoring groups, who estimate the civilian death toll to be significantly higher. 

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"The coalition conducted a total of 30,008 strikes between August 2014 and end of August 2018," the coalition statement said.

"During this period, based on information available, CJTF-OIR assesses at least 1,114 civilians have been unintentionally killed by coalition strikes since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve."

According to the coalition, the deadliest strike killed 20 civilians while reportedly aiming at Islamic State “fighting positions”, explosives factory and a command and control centre in May 2017 near Mosul, Iraq.

“We continue to employ thorough and deliberate targeting and strike processes to minimise the impact of our operations on civilian populations and infrastructure,” the military’s statement said.

Airwars, an independent monitoring group that assesses civilian deaths from coalition air strikes, estimates the civilian death toll be higher than 6,575. 

The Syrian Observatory of Human RIghts says 3,379 civilians were killed by coalition strikes between September 2014 until 22 September 2018.

Past accusations

In June, Amnesty International also claimed that the US-led coalition's aerial attacks in Raqqa had killed hundreds of civilians. 

Amnesty had visited 42 coalition air strike sites across the ruined city and interviewed 112 civilian residents who survived the attacks and lost loved ones. 

The US-led coalition began its air strikes against the Islamic State group in 2014 under the Obama administration. Since then it has continued its air strikes and supported local groups fighting IS militants on the ground.

The coalition, along with local partners, has mostly cleared the militant group from Iraq and Syria, but remains concerned about its resurgence.

Last year, Middle East Eye revealed that that British drones and jets involved in the coalition had dropped more than 3,400  bombs and missiles on IS militants in Iraq and Syria. 

The UK government claimed that there was "no evidence" their bombs had killed a single civilian.