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Civilian death toll rising in Syria’s Raqqa, NGO warns

US-coalition airstrike on Syria's Raqqa on 9 March 2017 [Syrian Observatory for Human Rights]
US-coalition airstrike on Syria's Raqqa on 9 March 2017 [Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, File photo]

At least 27 civilians were killed within the last 48 hours in Syria’s Daesh-held city of Raqqa amid fierce airstrikes carried out by a US-led coalition, according to a local citizen-journalist group.

Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), which monitors human rights violations and war crimes in the city, said Tuesday on social media that the US-led coalition had carried out 133 air raids in the city over the last two days, resulting in an undetermined number of civilian deaths.

“Seventeen civilians in an apartment complex in Raqqa’s White Garden district were killed by the air raids,” RBSS tweeted, noting that ten members of a single Syrian family had been among those killed.

In June, the US-led anti-Daesh coalition — along with the terrorist PKK/PYD group — launched a campaign aimed at retaking Raqqa, the capital of Daesh’s self-proclaimed “caliphate”.

Some 450,000 civilians were later forced to leave their homes in Raqqa, while 30,000 others were caught in the middle of intense coalition bombardments.

Read: UN calls for humanitarian pause in Raqqa, fearing the use of human shields

According to RBSS, at least 481 civilians were killed in Raqqa in the month of July alone.

Last month, the Syrian Network for Human Rights, a UK-based rights watchdog, documented the death of some 1,400 civilians in Raqqa — including women and children — since the beginning of the year.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to the UN, although Assad regime officials put the death toll much lower.

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