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Report: Huge Civilian Casualties In Trump's War On ISIS

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A new report says civilian deaths have skyrocketed during the U.S.-led war against ISIS under President Donald Trump.

Airwars, a journalist organization, found that more than 2,200 civilians have been killed in Iraq and Syria during the Trump administration as of July 13, compared to the eight years under President Obama, which saw 2,300 civilian deaths, notes the Daily Beast.

When broken down by month, that comes to about 80 civilian deaths per month under Obama, and about 360 civilians killed monthly, or 12 daily, under Trump.

According to the U.S.-led coalition, 603 civilians died since President Donald Trump took office.

While there have been recent battles for densely populated cities such as Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqa, Syria, under Trump, the Daily Beast notes that there are also indications civilians have fewer protections these days on the battlefield.

Belkis Wille, an Iraq researcher for Human Rights Watch, told the news site how civilians are losing loved ones to the U.S.-led coalition:

Remarkably, when I interview families at camps who have just fled the fighting, the first thing they complain about is not the three horrific years they spent under ISIS, or the last months of no food or clean water, but the American airstrikes. Many told me that they survived such hardship, and almost made it out with the families, only to lose all their loved ones in a strike before they had time to flee.

Early in his administration, Trump recommended the Pentagon look at "changes to any United States rules of engagement and other United States policy restrictions that exceed the requirements of international law regarding the use of force against ISIS."

The Daily Beast notes this is a huge shift from decades of U.S. military policy, which prioritized civilian safety during war.

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Secretary of Defense James Mattis delivered a war plan to Trump on Feb. 27, which he explained in May:

Two significant changes resulted from President Trump’s reviews of our findings. First, he delegated authority to the right level to aggressively and in a timely manner move against enemy vulnerabilities. Second, he directed a tactical shift from shoving ISIS out of safe locations in an attrition fight to surrounding the enemy in their strongholds so we can annihilate ISIS.

 "There has been no change to our continued extraordinary efforts to avoid innocent civilian casualties," Mattis told journalists.

Airwars asked the DoD if the new war plan would result in more civilian casualties, but the Pentagon just pointed to Mattis' comments.

Airwars noticed there was a sharp upswing in civilian casualties by the U.S.-led coalition when the new war plan was implemented in March.

Unidentified U.S. defense officials told The Washington Post in March that U.S. boots were on the ground in Syria in the form of Marines who were firing artillery in Raqqa to help remove ISIS militants.

While hundreds of Special Operations troops had been in Syria to advise local forces, this marked the first time conventional U.S. forces were engaged in an active ground war against ISIS; the Obama administration began bombing ISIS in 2014.

Sources: Daily Beast, The Washington Post / Photo credit: Jim Mattis/Flickr, U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. James J. Vooris/Wikimedia Commons, Voice of America/Wikimedia Commons

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