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CIVILIAN deaths around the world caused by air strikes have almost doubled in the last year according to a new report.
Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) says that more than 15,000 civilians were killed in the first 11 months of 2017, a rise of 42 per cent on the 2016 total and the worst year since the group started collating data.
The rise has been attributed to an increase in air strikes, which accounted for 58 per cent of the total death toll, mainly in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
The AOAV survey suggests the civilian death toll from air-launched explosives rose sharply by 82 per cent from 4,902 in 2016 to 8,932 in 2017.
The monitoring and campaigning group collected information from English-language newswire services. Its totals were higher than official statistics but lower than those of other monitoring groups.
According to Airwars, which monitors deaths in Iraq and Syria, between 11,000 and 18,000 civilians have been killed as a result of US-led military operations over the same period, with the Associated Press estimating 9,000 deaths in Mosul alone.
British all-party parliamentary group on drones chairman Clive Lewis called for transparency from the Ministry of Defence.
“Effectively distinguishing between those who are ‘taking part in active hostilities’ and those who are not is a prerequisite for distinguishing between legitimate and civilian targets,” he said.
AOAV spokesman Iain Overton said the figures created doubt over MoD claims that there was no evidence of civilian deaths from British air strikes in Iraq and Syria.
“In an attempt to combat terrorism, forces are using air weapons against groups they consider a threat and, in doing so, they are killing an awful lot of civilians.
“It raises fundamental questions about the RAF claims that there is no evidence civilians are killed in its operations,” he said.
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