According to the report released by the White House on July 1, up to 116 civilians have been killed by US aerial strikes ‘outside areas of active hostilities’, since Barack Obama became a president of the USA in 2009.
Drones, traditional aircraft or cruise missiles made these strikes in Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and other African countries. However, the report doesn’t examine Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria, where the Obama administration has conducted thousands of air attacks.
‘From January 20, 2009 to December 31, 2015, 473 strikes were conducted that killed between 64 and 116 civilians,’ the report says, also claiming ‘the strikes also took the lives of between 2,372 and 2,581 combatants.’
At the same time, human rights organizations call ‘significantly higher figures’ of dead and wounded people. The report acknowledges this fact.
‘As the statement today from the DNI (Director of National Intelligence) notes, in releasing these figures, the US Government also acknowledges that there are differences between US Government assessments and reporting from non-governmental organizations on non-combatant deaths resulting from US operations,’ the White House said.
Federico Borello of the Center for Civilians in Conflict said that the figures revealed by the White House don’t add up with reality. He also expressed concern about the growing availability of armed drones for the states all over the world. ‘It’s more likely that drones will be used as a first response in conflicts and more likely civilians will pay the price,’ Borello added.
At the same day, July 1, the White House released an executive order for a better prevention of civilians from killing in drone strikes.
The order includes ‘promulgating an Executive Order on United States Policy on Pre- and Post-Strike Measures to Address Civilian Casualties in US Operations Involving the Use of Force, as well as releasing aggregate data regarding both the number of strikes undertaken during this Administration by the US Government against terrorist targets located outside areas of active hostilities and the range of assessed combatant and non-combatant deaths resulting from those strikes.’
The USA states that the targets of attacks are members of al-Qaeda and other militants. However, local officials and eye witnesses claim otherwise – civilians have been the victims of the attacks in most cases.