Syrian opposition groups condemn US-coalition airstrikes after 140 civilians killed

Published July 22nd, 2016 - 07:00 GMT
Kurdish and Arab forces hold rocket launchers as they prepare to confront Daesh on the outskirts of Manbij. (AFP/File)
Kurdish and Arab forces hold rocket launchers as they prepare to confront Daesh on the outskirts of Manbij. (AFP/File)

Syria’s foreign-backed opposition groups have called on a United States-led coalition bombarding purported Daesh positions in Syria to suspend the attacks following the recent death of some 140 civilians in coalition raids.

On Thursday, Reuters cited the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) as urging the coalition to temporarily stop the aerial campaign in Syria while an investigation is completed into recent coalition attacks that killed 140 civilians in and near the northern Syrian city of Manbij.

Anas al-Abdah, the SNC’s president, warned in a statement issued late Wednesday, “It is essential that such investigation not only result in revised rules of procedure for future operations, but also inform accountability for those responsible for such major violations.”

The airstrikes that killed the 140 civilians were conducted by the US and France — another member of the coalition.

The Syrian government has written to the United Nations (UN), asking the world body to condemn the airstrikes. The US-led aerial campaign inside Syria has no authorization from Damascus or the UN.

Abdah, the president of the SNC, said in his statement that the civilian fatalities of the recent strikes could “prove to be a recruitment tool” for Daesh.

The Free Syrian Army, another foreign-backed opposition group, called the fatalities of the US-led airstrikes “shocking massacres.”

“We will not allow any crime to be justified under the pretext of combating terrorism,” it said in a statement signed by more than 30 militant factions.

Reacting to the reports of the civilian fatalities, the French Foreign Ministry has said it does not recognize the figures released by the Syrian government and would wait for the results of an investigation conducted by the US-led coalition itself.

French President Francois Hollande claimed he had no precise information on the French air forces’ responsibility for the civilian deaths.

The UN children agency and UK-based rights group Amnesty International have sharply criticized the airstrikes.

The US-led coalition has been backing the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab forces, to capture Manbij since last May.

Editor's note: This article has been edited from the original.

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