Amnesty International on Wednesday launched a new crowdsourcing data project that would allow anybody with a mobile phone or laptop to help plot how the US-led military coalition’s bombings destroyed almost 80 percent of the Syrian city of Raqqa in 2017.
“Strike Tracker” is the next phase of an in-depth Amnesty International investigation, in partnership with Airwars, into the shocking scale of civilian casualties resulting from four months of bombardment by the international coalition to oust the ISIS extremist group from Raqqa.
Amnesty said its field investigations and analysis of satellite imagery were aimed at prompting the US-led coalition to admit responsibility for the devastation and conduct a careful investigation into the death of hundreds of civilians in its bombing campaign in Raqqa. According to the UN estimates, the bombings destroyed or damaged over 10,000 buildings or 80% of the city.
In the early phase of the investigation, the watchdog group submitted a new body of evidence of apparent violations of International Humanitarian Law and prompted the international coalition to admit the death of 77 civilians as a result of its bombing campaign. In total, the international coalition admitted its airstrikes killed 104 civilians in the city.
“With bodies still being recovered from the wreckage and mass graves more than a year later, this is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Milena Marin, Senior Adviser for Tactical Research on Amnesty International’s Crisis Response team.
With thousands of ‘Strike Trackers’ on the case to help us narrow down precisely when and where Coalition air and artillery strikes destroyed buildings, we can significantly scale up our ability to map out the apocalyptic destruction in Raqqa,” Marina added.
The city of Raqqa was the site of bitter fighting between the international coalition forces and the PYD militias on the one hand and ISIS militants on the other. ISIS militants were eventually allowed to withdraw under a secret agreement. The bodies being recovered on a daily basis have revealed the shocking scale of civilian casualties resulting from several months of bombardment. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)