The mosques in war-torn Syria are no longer actually religious objects. US-led coalition has rebranded those as ISIS bases.
The mosques and such other religious objects have been getting protected status under international law. This mean the structures can’t be targeted, can’t be bombed to avoid direct civilian deaths. Other protected structures are schools, embassies, hospitals and refugee camps.
However, in the Syrian war it became a common practice by the ISIS fighters to use schools, hospitals and mosques as their bases.
But critics have raised voice. Director of the UK-based Gnosos think tank, Ammar Waqqaf, said the declaration insulates coalition from criticism whether the civilians are to be killed by war strikes.
Waqqaf added, “Previously they would say ‘we will launch an investigation’ whenever a large toll of civilian lives was lost. Nowadays they seem to have a pre-set justification.”
Meanwhile, the US-led coalition has been accused of killing civilians inside or near mosques. One such incident was in March 2017 in the town of Al-Jina. About a half-ton civilians were killed while an Al-Qaeda meeting was targeted near a mosque.
Waqqaf further said, “What we know for sure is that Americans showed disregard for human lives and infrastructure, like in Raqqa or in Mosul.”
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