WASHINGTON, June 2 (Xinhua) — U.S. military actions have killed almost 500 civilians in 2017, and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) said the casualties were sometimes “unavoidable,” according to a report released Friday.
“DOD assesses that there are credible reports of approximately 499 civilians killed and approximately 169 civilians injured during 2017,”according to the 13-page annual report.
The deaths were a result of U.S. military operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen, the report said, adding that the casualties were ” tragic but at times an unavoidable consequence of combat operations.”
The report said no casualties were identified as a result of U.S. operations in Somalia and Libya, but the numbers are subject to change due to ongoing assessment of 450 reports of civilian deaths.
According to U.S. media reports, airstrikes carried out by U.S. military in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan saw a significant uptick since Trump’s inauguration, up by 28.7 percent in Syria and Iraq and 22.6 in Afghanistan year-on-year.
The report, which was one month overdue, was slammed by activist groups which accused the Pentagon of deliberately ignoring casualty reports to limit the numbers. The report said it “acknowledges” the difference in results of the DOD report and others, attributing the difference to “a variety of factors” such as information sources and counting methodologies.