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US Must Adjust its Plan to Liberate Raqqa

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Message Firas Samuri
American-led International Coalition continues to fight against ISIS in northern part of Syria in the Inherent Resolve operation that began in October, 2014. Currently the Syrian Democratic Forces assisted by American military instructors (their number estimates as 1,000) and the International Coalition jets initiated a large-scale offensive against ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.

So far the U.S. operation in the province of Raqqa has brought nothing but a great number of casualties among civilian population and disruption of urban infrastructure as a result of indiscriminate bombing.

It should be mentioned that since the World War II, America has been ignoring civilian casualties while conducting military operations abroad. We can recall the bombings of Tokyo and Dresden as well as the use of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945. It seems that death of innocent people is a routine Pentagon uses to reach its goals.

US Troops in Syria
US Troops in Syria
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At the same time the U.S. makes efforts to conceal the real number of airstrike victims. U.S. Central Command confirmed the death of as much as 229 civilians, a number that is allegedly under-reported. According to Airwars monitoring organization, more than 2800 civilians were killed by the coalition airstrikes.

The United Nations repeatedly criticized the International Coalition actions in Syria and Iraq. On March 30, the United Nations Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien urged the armed groups and the International Coalition to ensure the safety of civilians during the liberation of Raqqa from terrorists. O'Brien also raised concerns about the future of 400,000 civilians who still remain in the besieged city and may suffer from the actions of the 'liberators'.

It is fair to assume that Washington is unlikely to follow the UN's appeals and won't attempt to coordinate its efforts for 'liberating' the city from terrorists. Since the beginning of the military operation in Syria the U.S. has failed to achieve any positive results, and liberating of Raqqa by Kurdish blood would likely result in numerous civilian casualties and disruption of key infrastructure.

In addition, the assault on such a well-defensed city requires participation of all the sides interested in the fight against terrorism. Consequently, the International Coalition must coordinate its actions with the Syrian Arab Army, aimed at the liberation of territories previously occupied by the terrorists. Finally, the U.S. authorities should think over the possibility of creating humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from the besieged city, as it has been done in Aleppo. Perhaps if Washington met these conditions, the U.S. assault on the city of Raqqa would succeed.

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Freelance journalist working with Inside Syria Media Center. I'm especially interested in Syrian crisis.
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