WASHINGTON (Press TV) – Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called upon the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh terrorist group should address the harm to civilians during military operations in war-torn Syria.
The New York-based rights organization reported that the alliance has not thoroughly investigated the attacks that killed civilians or created a program for compensation, or other assistance to civilians who suffered harm from its operations.
It cited field investigations into 4 apparently unlawful coalition airstrikes in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province from 2017 and 2018, where no compensation or condolence payments were made to the victims. The aerial raids reportedly killed 63 civilians and damaged and destroyed property.
Human Rights Watch further highlighted that whilst the US Congress authorized the Defense Department in the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to make condolence payments to civilians in Syria in December 2016, the process for making claims has not been defined.
"The US should promptly develop a standardized condolence payment process and conduct outreach as feasible with affected communities to explain and publicize the process. The process should allow safe and convenient avenues to submit claims in the person’s preferred language and should identify local partners as facilitators.
"Condolence payments should reflect the circumstances, needs, and preferences of affected civilians. Options may include public acknowledgement, apologies, monetary payments, and livelihood assistance,” it said.
The rights organization went on to ask members of the U.S.-led military coalition to coordinate their efforts to create a unified system to track, assess, and investigate reports of civilian casualties and to provide prompt and equitable condolence payments and other forms of amends.
"In cases in which coalition forces are found to have committed laws-of-war violations, appropriate compensation should be swiftly paid to the victims or their families,” Human Rights Watch said.
"For the civilians who suffered under ISIS (Daesh) rule to rebuild their lives, the coalition should include condolence payments to those families who were harmed by their military operations,” Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at the human rights organization said.
"Providing victims of airstrikes with some help for their suffering would be an important step,” Fakih pointed out.
The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes and operations against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a United Nations mandate.
The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of destroying Daesh.