The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), in a piece published Thursday, condemned United States-led attacks on the Islamic State in the city of Raqqa that took place nearly one year ago, arguing that America’s intention to remove the terrorist group was a “lie.”
The SANA article said that the U.S.-led attacks on ISIS left “hundreds of victims, tens of thousands of displaced persons and widespread destruction.” It added, “These tragic accounts give the lie to Washington’s claims of fighting Daesh, with its real aim now exposed as not eradicating the terrorist organization, but the total destruction of the city’s infrastructure.”
The United States, with the help of the U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), a group of Kurdish and Arab militias, have been fighting to eradicate the Islamic State from Raqqa since June 2016.
In a statement to Reuters, the Pentagon wrote, “The Coalition respects human life and is assisting partner forces in their effort to liberate their land from ISIS while safeguarding civilians. Our goal is always for zero civilian casualties.”
The Syrian Arab News Agency referred to a statement made by Syria’s Permanent Representative to the U.N., Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, during a session of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the situation in Raqqa city where he said, “the real achievements of the so-called Coalition have been killing hundreds of civilians using the most odious of weapons, including incendiary ones, the vast destruction of Syrian infrastructure and the total leveling of Raqqa city, all under the pretext of fighting Daesh.”
In 2016, the United Nations said that over 400,000 people have died as a result of the Syrian civil war which was in its fifth year at that point. However, two years later, that figure is expected to be much higher.