Outrage at civilian deaths in US-led coalition advances on Daesh-held Manbij
Syrian Democratic Forces mourn a fallen comrade at Manbij (AFP / File)
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Syrian rebels backed by a US-led coalition made significant gains against Daesh (ISIS) in the town of Manbij this past weekend.
In a statement on Tuesday, the US military announced that it had captured a major headquarters located in a hospital in the Daesh-held city. With the support of some 450 airstrikes by the international coalition, led by the US, rebel groups made significant advances and took a large part of the city.
But the military gains came at a grave cost, paid by many of the innocent people living in the city.
At least 56 civilians have died in the bombing of the city, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, including many children. Some opposition groups placed the number killed in Manbij and surrounding towns at closer to 100.
And on Twitter, the response to the US-backed strikes has been characterised by grief and anger.
Today by dawn more than 160 civilians have died, most of them women and children, as the result of a number of American bombings targeting the large village of Tukhar.
Many people witnessing the horror of the advances, online or in Manbij itself, tweeted images using the hashtag #Manbij_is_being_exterminated.
ألا لعنة الله على من شارك في هذا التحالف من العرب وغيرهم
ياعلماء الأمة أليس فيكم رجل رشيد!!!
#منبج_تباد— ابو شوق العبدلي (@Aziz20201) 19 July 2016
May God put a curse on whoever participates in this coalition. Hey leaders of the Muslim world, is there a rational man among you?
Where are the people?
Where is Islam and its leaders?
Where is humanity? Is this the work of humans or of God?
Some commentators blamed the Kurdish forces,who enjoy American support.
This is the reason for the silence about the crimes, the destruction, the displacement that the people of Manbij have suffered.
PICTURE: Will the liberation of Manjib be the gateway into uniting the region and creating West Kurdistan? - Bayyar Robari
And some of the images shared by tweeters – like this one, which calls the advance a “ massacre” by the Democratic Forces of Syria and planes from the international coalition – were horribly graphic.
US statements say that some 150 jihadists have been killed by the advance so far – and that number is likely to go up. But the civilian cost of this operation, close to the Turkish border, could be even more devastating: the UN has warned that more than 200,000 people could be displaced and the death toll is likely to rise in the coming days.