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US attacks in Syria increased after Trump's withdrawal announcement

January 5, 2019 at 12:29 pm

A US F18 Hornet aircraft is launched off the deck of US aircraft carrier USS George Washington during its mission in the eastern Mediterranean Sea on February 21, 2017 [Murat Kaynak / Anadolu Agency]

Despite US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he will withdraw US troops from Syria, American strikes in the east of the country have increased.

This was revealed Thursday by an investigation conducted by Al Jazeera and The Intercept, which found that there are about 50,000 to 60,000 people stuck in eastern Syria – which is dominated by Daesh – living under these US attacks.

An activist, who refused to give his name, was reported saying: “The civilians in these areas have no place to go or hide from the US bombardment of their villages.” He added that the residents have been harmed at the hands of the Syrian government, the US and Daesh alike.

In the wake of international controversy and news that Daesh was not fully defeated in Syria, Trump declined to give a timeline for the US troops’ withdrawal from Syria, instead saying this would take place “over a period of time”. It remains unclear whether US airstrikes will continue once the troops leave.

Read: US names new anti-Daesh envoy

Describing the US strikes, a Daesh fighter said: “They just like to disrupt and mess everything up […] They bombed the places where they sell gasoline, or they sell cooking oil, or where they filter the water — they bomb all these places. They bomb everything just to make your life horrible.”

The fighter added: “No building is empty here,” referring to the remaining Daesh-controlled villages in Deir Ez-Zour. The Intercept said that fighters and civilians in the villages have reportedly been describing the US bombing campaign as a scorched-earth policy.

Meanwhile, the US-led international coalition in Syria admitted on Thursday that it had killed 11 civilians from one family, including a child in Deir Ez-Zour, Anadolu Agency reported.

On Sunday, the US military admitted that it had killed 1,139 civilians in Iraq and Syria since the start of its campaign against Daesh in 2014. This figure is significantly smaller than the estimates of civilian casualties made by monitoring groups, with one group – Airwars – saying that between 7,308 and 11,629 civilians have been killed.

Read: Trump gives no timetable for Syria exit, wants to protect Kurds