The United Kingdom admitted that it did not know the number of deaths in its air strikes in Syria and Iraq, under the pretext of fighting terrorism.
British Defence Minister Mark Lancaster was forced to admit on Tuesday that he did not know such a figure after the Wallet he heads was criticised for having published estimates of the number of fatalities claiming that there was only one death among civilians and more than 4000 among the terrorist group EIIL (Daesh, in Arabic) in the bombings of the Royal Air Force (RAF, for its acronym in English) in the two Arab countries.
“We are not saying that there has only been one civilian casualty as a result of our military action, what we are saying is that we only have evidence of what we believe to be a civilian death, which is quite different,” said the head of the UK Defence.
Lancaster argued that it was difficult to determine the number of civilians killed by UK air strikes in Syria and Iraq because of the absence of British troops in these territories.
The RAF has carried out some 1700 bombings in Syria and Iraq, out of a total of 34 000 air strikes by the so-called coalition against Daesh, led by the US.
The coalition has been operating in Syria since 2014 without the consent of the Syrian government. Damascus has repeatedly called on the United Nations to end the “illegal” presence of the United States and its allies in Syrian territory.
While the coalition has admitted having killed at least 1114 civilians as a result of the numerous operations carried out by its fighters since 2014 in Iraq and Syria, the figures provided by the organisation of independent journalists Airwars indicate that the toll of victims in these two countries far exceeds that recognised by the Western alliance, considering that the data provided should be multiplied.
Last March, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) claimed that the so-called US-led coalition had killed at least 4,000 people in Syria.