This video says about itself:
11 June 2017
At Least 48 Civilians Dead In Syria After White Phosphorous Attack By US-led Coalition Near Raqqa.
Another video used to say about itself:
Burning Raqqa: Inside the U.S. War Against Civilians in Syria. Jul 27, 2017. By Laura Gottesdiener / TomDispatch.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
‘Staggering’ loss of life in deadly battle for Raqqa
Thursday 15th June 2017
UNITED NATIONS investigators said yesterday that the international effort to liberate Raqqa is resulting in a “staggering” loss of life.
Independent Commission of Inquiry for Syria chairman Paolo Pinheiro told the UN human rights council that Isis was conducting an “ongoing and unaddressed genocide” in Raqqa, and noted that the terror group’s rapid losses to the SDF and Syrian army could “liberate the city’s civilian population from the group’s oppressive clutches, including Yazidi women and girls, whom the group has kept sexually enslaved for almost three years.”
But he added that an intensified wave of bombings had killed large numbers of civilians and forced an estimated 160,000 to flee their homes.
Similar dilemmas have been faced by the Iraqi and Syrian militaries as they seek to dislodge Islamist rebels from urban areas.
Mr Pinheiro also expressed concern that “de-escalation zones” in Syria don’t work, with only one of four zones identified in a recent deal sponsored by Russia, Iran and Turkey actually seeing a reduction in fighting.
The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned last week that the fighting around Raqqa was killing civilians, destroying infrastructure and causing critical shortages of food, medicine and fuel.
And Human Rights Watch said yesterday that the US-led coalition had bombarded Raqqa with white phosphorus, which is illegal under international law in civilian areas because it can spark deadly fires and burn through the bone.
The US refused to comment on whether the chemical had been used in Raqqa but stated that it only uses white phosphorus “in accordance with the law of armed conflict in a way that fully considers the possible incidental effects on civilians and civilian structures.”
However, its own guidelines for soldiers offer conflicting accounts of when the incendiary weapon can be used. The United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia have all been accused of deploying it against civilians in recent conflicts.
This video says about itself:
Battle for Syria, June 10 2017: US bombs Raqqa civilians.
By Bill Van Auken in the USA:
Washington’s war crimes in Syria
15 June 2017
The United States government is guilty of war crimes. This is the stark conclusion reached by the independent international commission of inquiry established by the United Nations in 2011 to investigate human rights violations stemming from the protracted US-backed war for regime change in Syria.
The Pentagon’s relentless bombing campaign in and around the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, the so-called “capital” of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has inflicted a “staggering loss of civilian life,” while forcing over 160,000 civilians to flee their homes, Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the UN’s commission of inquiry, said on Wednesday.
US warplanes have dropped tens of thousands of munitions on Raqqa and the surrounding area, killing and maiming thousands of Syrian men, women and children. US Marines units, which have steadily swelled the ground forces illegally deployed on Syrian soil, have unleashed further lethal firepower, firing 155mm howitzers into crowded urban neighborhoods and flying Apache attack helicopters to provide close air support to the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces. This proxy force of Washington is dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia and “advised” by US Special Operations troops.
The bloody siege of Raqqa is unfolding even as the Pentagon is carrying out a similar slaughter, begun last October, in Mosul, an Iraqi city 232 miles to the east that once boasted a population of over 2 million. Most of Mosul has been pulverized by US bombs, rockets and shells. Thousands have been killed and wounded, while many remain still buried under the rubble.
The scope of the war crimes being carried out by the Pentagon comes more sharply into focus with the verified reports that US artillery units are firing white phosphorus shells into both Raqqa and Mosul. These incendiary chemical weapons, banned under international law for use in populated areas, ignite human flesh on contact, burning it to the bone, while those who breathe the gases released by the shells suffocate and burn from the inside out. The horrific wounds caused by these weapons reopen when exposed to air. White phosphorus is used to strike terror among those under attack.
Another murderous weapon being employed against the populations of Raqqa and Mosul is the MGM-140B rocket. Fired from a mobile rocket launcher, the weapon detonates in midair, scattering some 274 anti-personnel grenades, each of which is capable of killing anyone within a 15-meter radius.
Last month, US Defense Secretary James Mattis told the media that the Pentagon was adopting “annihilation tactics” in its anti-ISIS campaign, adding, “Civilian casualties are a fact of life in this sort of situation.” Mattis, a recently retired Marine general whom the military nicknamed “Mad Dog”, knows whereof he speaks. In 2004, he led the two murderous sieges of Fallujah that claimed the lives of thousands of Iraqis, and, as in the latest US atrocities, made use of white phosphorus shells against a civilian population.
The US military interventions in Iraq and Syria are not aimed at “annihilating” ISIS, itself the product of the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq, followed by Washington’s utilization of Islamist fighters as proxy ground forces in the regime-change wars in both Libya and Syria. While Raqqa has been surrounded by US-backed forces from the north, east and west, an escape route for ISIS fighters has been opened up to the southeast in order to funnel them into the province of Deir al-Zour, so they can fight the Syrian army there. Similarly, large numbers of ISIS fighters were allowed to flee Mosul, crossing the border into Syria for the same purpose.
Washington’s strategic objectives in Iraq and Syria are not those of “fighting terrorism,” but rather consolidating US hegemony over the oil-rich Middle East and preparing for war against the principal obstacles to this objective, Iran and Russia. For US imperialism, undisputed control over both the Persian Gulf and Central Asia would provide the means to cut off energy supplies to its global rival, China.
These predatory aims are the source of war crimes, and not only in Iraq and Syria. In Yemen, Washington is backing a near-genocidal war led by the Saudi monarchy with the objective of weakening Iran’s influence in the Persian Gulf. During his visit to Riyadh last month, President Donald Trump announced a $110 billion arms deal with the kingdom, which will, in the first instance, replenish the bombs and missiles it is raining on the population of the most impoverished nation in the Arab world.
This arms package follows similar deals signed by the Obama administration, which also supplied the Saudis with logistical and intelligence aid for the Yemen war, including mid-air refueling for its warplanes and US naval backing for a blockade that is starving the population and denying it medical supplies. In addition to killing 12,000 people outright, the US-Saudi war has left at least 7 million Yemenis on the brink of famine, while cholera is threatening to kill thousands more. Save the Children reports that, on average, one Yemeni child is contracting the disease every 35 seconds.
Meanwhile, Washington is preparing to once again escalate the protracted slaughter in Afghanistan. US officials reported Tuesday that Trump has authorized Mattis to set troop levels in the country, which the US has occupied since 2001. Thousands more soldiers are expected to be deployed, with the aim of carrying out the “annihilation tactics” favored by the defense secretary. A taste of what is to come was seen Monday when US troops whose convoy hit a roadside bomb opened fire indiscriminately on civilians, killing a brick kiln laborer and his two sons, ages eight and 10.
As these atrocities play out across an ever-expanding global battlefield … the continuous wars are not even a subject of debate in Congress and are supported by both Democrats and Republicans. The media, a faithful propaganda arm of the Pentagon and the CIA, has shown a complete disinterest in US war crimes, paying attention only when allegations are made against Russia or the Syrian government.
The emergence of a genuine antiwar movement is today a matter of life and death, as the war crimes being carried out by Washington across the globe threaten to coalesce into a global conflict involving the major nuclear powers. Such a movement can be built only in the fight to mobilize the working class independently on the basis of a socialist program to put an end to capitalism, the source of war.
In a marked escalation of the war in Syria, a US F-18 fighter jet yesterday shot down a Syrian government fighter bomber for the first time, claiming that it had been attacking pro-US rebel forces on the ground near Raqqa. While nominally fighting Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) forces, the US shoot-down makes clear that the real aim of American-led operations is the ousting of the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad: here.