Air strikes conducted by United States in Iraq and Syria may have resulted in a loss of 119 civilian lives since 2014, the Pentagon said on Wednesday. However, the figure provided by the US department of defence is far lower than the civilian casualty estimates presented by various monitoring groups in the region.
The figures were released by the US military command in the Middle East, Centcom, after months of reviews from different databases and reports. The Pentagon also said that the injuries and deaths to the civilians occurred from at least 24 air strikes conducted by the United States.
"We have teams who work full time to prevent unintended civilian casualties. We do all we can to minimise those occurrences even at the cost of sometimes missing the chance to strike valid targets in real time," Colonel John Thomas was quoted as saying in a statement by Centcom.
According to the investigation conducted by Pentagon, it was found that "in each of these strikes the right processes were followed; each complied with Law of Armed Conflict and significant precautions were taken, despite the unfortunate outcome," Thomas said. The US says that it uses precision-guided ammunition, which limit the number of civilian causalities. America carries out around 80 percent of the total coalition bombings in these nations.
The statement by Centcom also stated that in the worst single incident, 10 civilians had been killed in a strike on an IS weapons production facility near Mosul, Iraq, on March 5, 2016.
According to the estimates by an NGO based in London, coalition bombing in Iraq and Syria has killed around 1,787 civilians ever since the campaign to combat Islamic State (ISIS) began in August 2014.
Russia has also been accused of using conventional bombs which are deadlier for the civilian populations in Iraq and Syria. According to the estimates by Amnesty International, around 300 civilian casualties have been reported from Syria alone because of the coalition strikes.