There have been allegations that US-led coalition forces in Raqqa, Syria were using white phosphorous in civilian populated areas. Although is was denied, the United States is now admitting to using white phosphorous in Mosul, Iraq.
Witnesses claimed to have seen the white phosphorous, which has a distinct look to it.
Images and reports from witnesses in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa suggest that the United States-led coalition battling the Islamic State there has used munitions loaded with white phosphorus, the use of which in populated areas is prohibited under international law. Photographs and video clips posted online showed blinding spots of light spreading outward on Thursday night over what residents said was eastern Raqqa. By day, the images showed low white puffs trailing tentacles of white smoke. Both are typical visual signatures of white phosphorus, which can be loaded into artillery shells. –The Daily Sheeple
— Fazel Hawramy (@FazelHawramy) June 4, 2017
Now, the U.S.-led coalition has admitted, for the first time, to using white phosphorous during operations in the Iraqi city of Mosul. “We have utilized white phosphorous to screen areas within west Mosul to get civilians out safely,” New Zealand Brig. Gen. Hugh McAslan tells NPR. He estimates that around 28,000 civilians have managed to make the dangerous crossing out of Islamic State territory in the past few days alone. Coalition spokesmen previously have confirmed the use of the incendiary substance in less-populated areas of northern Iraq in the fight against ISIS. However, this is the first confirmation that white phosphorus has been used in Mosul.
Now questions are being raised about the integrity of the US-led coalition, which is accused of using white phosphorus near Raqqa, Syria. According to Human Rights Watch, the use of artillery-delivered white phosphorus by the United States-led coalition fighting Islamic State (also known as ISIS) forces in Syria and Iraq raises serious questions about the protection of civilians. This multipurpose munition should never be used as an incendiary weapon to attack personnel or materiel in populated areas, even when delivered from the ground.
Human rights organizations have warned that the use of white phosphorus to produce obfuscating smoke screens carries deadly risks in an urban setting. Amnesty International says the substance can cause “horrific injuries, burning deep into the muscle and bone.” The incendiary substance can reignite weeks after being deployed, causing potential harm to those fleeing or returning.
Magnifying the problem, the U.N. Human Rights Council says it has received credible reports that ISIS is increasingly is targeting civilians as they try to flee, leaving more than 230 dead in recent weeks.
The ISIS-affiliated media outlet Amaq also released a video purporting to show white phosphorous raining down on Raqqa by night. Amnesty International says it has not yet been able to verify the Amaq footage. However, they are urging US-led forces to refrain from using white phosphorus in Raqqa and its surroundings, where civilians remain trapped. The rights group says the risk to civilians is “unacceptably” high, and could potentially count as a war crime.
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Contributed by Dawn Luger of The Daily Sheeple.