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'US-led Coalition failed to learn from errors in Iraq'

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ANKARA, 12 Jan 2019 [Fik/News Sources]: Amnesty International’s Middle East Research director slammed the U.S.-led Coalition on Friday, saying it had not learned from its mistakes in the past.

Lynn Maalouf’s remarks were in reaction to the coalition's statement about the start of “the process of deliberate withdrawal” from Syria.

“It is deplorable that the U.S.-led Coalition continues to ignore its responsibility over carrying out meaningful investigations into the hundreds of civilian deaths it caused in Raqqa and elsewhere – even as it starts to withdraw from Syria," Maalouf said.

Maalouf blasted the coalition for "unashamedly ignoring the devastating legacy of its bombing campaign” and said not offering survivors any form of remedy or compensation was “adding insult to injury”.

“Had the Coalition learned from its mistakes in Iraq, the utter devastation of Raqqa might have been avoided. Leaving such widespread civilian destruction in its wake is a humanitarian abomination that is at odds with the Coalition’s stated values," she added.

Maalouf recalled that Amnesty International went to Raqqa multiple times since the battle ended.

"Not a single one of the hundreds of survivors we’ve spoken to on the ground has even been contacted by the Coalition – let alone received any assistance – as they try to rebuild their lives."

“The Coalition’s battle for Raqqa began as its military campaign in Mosul, in neighbouring Iraq, was winding down. Its legacy of devastation and impunity in Mosul should have served as a cautionary tale. There, too, Coalition strikes killed large numbers of civilians and destroyed civilian homes and infrastructure on a massive scale, but it barely lifted a finger to assist in the aftermath," she added.

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