According to Airwars.org, these reported casualty levels are comparable with some of the worst periods of Russian activity in Syria.
Record high casualties:
US-led strikes in Syria and Iraq have surged according to claims submitted to a non-profit organization that tracks civilian casualties caused by airstrikes in the Middle East.
On Friday, Airwars.org, which has been tracking deaths caused by both Russian and US airstrikes, issued a statement saying it will suspend its work on Russian actions in Syria to better focus their resources on continuing to properly monitor and assess reported casualties from the US and its allies.
The statement said “Almost 1,000 civilian non-combatant deaths have already been alleged from coalition actions across Iraq and Syria in March – a record claim. These reported casualty levels are comparable with some of the worst periods of Russian activity in Syria.”
In the two-year-old war against the Islamic State, March was one of the most lethal months for civilians, as three mass casualty incidents have been attributed to US.-led forces in Iraq and Syria in the last week.
In a bid to target al-Qaida leaders, US drones targeted what locals deemed a mosque in Aleppo province last week. People on the ground said at least 47 civilians also died in the strikes but US officials said dozens of terrorists were killed and the Pentagon denied that there were any civilian casualties but has launched a formal investigation into the incident.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a conflict monitoring group, said on Monday that a strike near Raqqa targeted a school that was repurposed as a home for multiple several displaced by fighting in the area, killing at least 33.
Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon admitted US aircraft were operating in the vicinity but the military is having a hard time rectifying the location of the building that was targeted with what was shown as destroyed on social media.
Iraqi media reported on Thursday that an airstrike in Mosul killed more than 200 people. The Pentagon is investigating the claims.
According to Airwars, claims of civilian casualties caused by American-led forces have outstripped those caused by Damascus and the Kremlin since the fall of Aleppo to Syrian and Russian forces in December and the recent escalation of the US-led campaigns against ISIS in Mosul and Raqqa.
In March, Airwars has recorded around 50 civilian casualty events caused by the joint Russian and Syrian air campaign caused by Syrian forces advance into opposition-held Hama in central Syria.
To determine if casualty reports are fair, weak, contested or disproved, Airwars uses different methods to investigate and confirm civilian casualties. It relays on a medley of local news outlets, NGOs, civilian volunteers and social media.
According to Airwars data nearly half the alleged strikes in March are contested. But more than 2,500 civilians have been killed by the US-led coalition.
In recent months, the Pentagon has admitted to killing only roughly 220 civilians. It says it has taken strides to investigate a backlog of claims while starting to release monthly civilian casualty assessments.
Director of Airwars, Chris Woods, said in a statement: “The decision to temporarily suspend our Russia strike assessments has been a very difficult one to take. Moscow is still reportedly killing hundreds of civilians in Syria every month. But with Coalition casualty claims escalating so steeply, and with very limited Airwars resources, we believe our key focus at present needs to be on the US-led alliance.”