Syrian rights NGO reports that Kayla Mueller is among the 103 civilians killed by the international coalition’s airstrikes
A Syrian NGO on Tuesday claimed that the US-led international coalition’s airstrikes on the Islamic State and other groups in Syria has killed 103 civilians since its campaign started in September 2014.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights, or SNHR, report documented the names, photos, place and time of the deaths.
The report claimed that 11 children and 11 women, including an American national – the aid worker Kayla Jean Mueller – were killed by the airstrikes.
Islamic State announced on 6 February 2015 that Mueller, an American hostage and aid worker, was killed in a Jordanian pilot’s coalition airstrike on IS in Raqqa’s eastern countryside. Mueller’s death was confirmed by US President Barack Obama four days after IS’s announcement, although the US denied their claims, blaming IS for her death.
“No matter how long it takes, the United States will find and bring to justice the terrorists who are responsible for Kayla’s captivity and death,” Obama said in a statement on 10 February.
Mueller, 26, was captured on 4 August 2014 in the city of Aleppo, where she was en route with a Syrian friend to a bus station that would take her back across the Turkish border where she was based.
Mueller’s friend was released after a few months, but the Islamic State kept the young American aid worker prisoner. Some reports indicated that her family had received proof of life and a €5m ($6.6m) ransom demand.
Mueller’s parents received a private message from the White House, with additional information that was “authenticated” by intelligence, allowing them to confirm her killing.
Yet Carl and Marsha Mueller, speaking after the confirmation of their daughter’s death, provided no information regarding the details of her death, further fuelling speculation about the exact cause of her death.
The US has so far not admitted to killing any civilians, but has said it will probe a few specific allegations.
“Unfortunately, the coalition’s central command denies the deaths of civilians, although all the research contains testimonies, photos, videos and victims’ names,” Fadel Abdulghany, the head of SNHR said in the report.
A previous report by the network in December 2014 documented that at least 40 civilians had been killed by coalition airstrikes. Since December, at least 63 civilian deaths were documented, including three children and five women, leading to a total death toll of 103 civilians, the NGO said.
The coalition is conducting constant airstrikes on IS positions, infrastructure and projects. While coalition forces insist they are only taking aim at IS, there has been widespread concern that the strikes could be helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, the London-based NGO said.
The coalition has carried out numerous airstrikes against IS in Iraq and Syria since the militant group took over most of Mosul, in northern Iraq, in June 2014.