Source: Amnesty International NZ
An innovative website documenting the impact on civilians of the US-led Coalition’s military operation in Raqqa, Syria, against the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) is now available in Arabic, ahead of the third anniversary of the end of the offensive on 17 October 2017.
The interactive website – War in Raqqa: Rhetoric versus Reality – brings together 360° photographs, videos, personal stories, satellite images and maps to document the reality of the reckless bombing campaign which killed and injured thousands of civilians, and destroyed most of the city between June and October 2017.
By now launching the site in Arabic, we aim to help bring the story to new audiences that deserve to know the truth
Using a vast amount of evidence collected by Amnesty International in Raqqa and open-source information collected by Airwars, the website – also available in English at raqqa.amnesty.org – allows visitors to explore the devastating impact of thousands of US, UK and French air strikes, and tens of thousands of US artillery attacks, on the civilians trapped in Raqqa during the war.
“On the ground in Raqqa we witnessed a level of destruction incomparable to anything we’ve seen in decades of covering wars,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Advisor, and the lead investigator in Raqqa.
“This innovative website shows users the reality of the military operation and bombing campaign, gives a voice to the families trapped in the city, and forensically details the devastating impact of the bombardments.
“By now launching the site in Arabic, we aim to help bring the story to new audiences that deserve to know the truth.”
The US-led Coalition has accepted responsibility for only a small percentage of the civilian deaths in Raqqa, and has so far not conducted any on-the-ground investigation in the city. By contrast, Amnesty International investigators spent months in Raqqa, surveying more than 200 strike sites, collecting material evidence, and interviewing more than 400 witnesses and survivors.
During the four-month bombardment – which killed more than 1,600 civilians – an estimated 80% of the city was left uninhabitable, and Raqqa is widely considered to be the most-destroyed city of modern times.