BuzzFeed News

Reporting To You

world

#PrayforSyria Trends As US Investigates Bombing That Killed Dozens Of Civilians

Nearly 60 civilians were killed in a US airstrike on the ISIS-held city of Manbij in Syria, a prominent rights group says.

Posted on July 20, 2016, at 6:46 p.m. ET

An airstrike on the ISIS-held city of Manbij in Syria resulted in the death of nearly 60 civilians, including children, a prominent NGO claimed, sparking new outrage over civilian casualties caused by the US-led coalition against ISIS.

Rodi Said / Reuters

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR), a London-based NGO, called the strike a "massacre," one where they say they have confirmed 56 people dead and "tens" more injured.

Very clear footage (rare) of a CJTF airstrike north of #Manbij on July 5, 2016. Geolocation: https://t.co/w70f6hO506

“We’re aware of reports of civilian casualties” in recent airstrikes in Syria, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters at a press conference in DC on Wednesday. “We’ll investigate these reports and continue to do all we can to protect civilians," he continued. "Being transparent about this issue is a reflection of the civilized nature of this coalition.”

The hashtag #PrayForSyria was added to articles about the strike and soon began trending in the United States and worldwide. Many expressed disbelief that such an attack could be an accident.

(An early report from The Telegraph cited "as many as 85" people killed in the attack, a number that is still being cited by many on the hashtag.)
Twitter: @megan813beatty

(An early report from The Telegraph cited "as many as 85" people killed in the attack, a number that is still being cited by many on the hashtag.)

People were quick to note the comparative lack of coverage of the Mabij incident versus the recent attack in Nice, when the hashtag #PrayForNice also trended.

Many on the hashtag called out what they view as hypocrisy both on the difference between the US government's response to terrorism and to civilian casualties...

...and those who refuse refugees while dropping bombs on the countries they're fleeing from.

Past US bombings of civilians were brought back into the spotlight, including several times when weddings were attacked.

BuzzFeed News has previously reported on civilian casualties under the coalition.

The reports found that not only are they higher than claimed but that in Syria at least there is a set number — 10 — of potential deaths that are considered permissible before a superior officer is required to clear a strike.
BuzzFeed News

The reports found that not only are they higher than claimed but that in Syria at least there is a set number — 10 — of potential deaths that are considered permissible before a superior officer is required to clear a strike.

Others pointed to the advanced tech and training of the US armed forces and wondered how so many civilians could still be killed.

Celebrities, including actor Justin Long and Alyssa Milano, joined in on the hashtag.

Some people suggested how to move beyond the hashtag and help Syria more fully.

A picture that was first drawn in response to the outpouring of grief following the Brussels attack earlier this year also began recirculating.

Several unsourced pictures and videos have begun to be passed alongside the hashtag, including some that are from before the strike took place.

And hardly anyone is talking about this. No media coverage. Heartbreaking #prayforsyria

The picture on the right was tweeted on Saturday at least, if not earlier, claiming to show a photographer pulling a child from rubble in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

A photo series of a child asking "Is it fair that children around the world can live and play in comfort and safety, while we live in death and destruction" is also from before the bombing in Manbij.

This is absolutely heart breaking and cruel #prayforsyria

It's actually a quote from a recent BBC documentary, Children of the Gaza War, that documents the plight of children after several wars between Israel and Hamas.

Another picture, showing an actual river of blood, was real but the result of barrel bombs dropped in February 2015 on the city of Douma.

And this video, which appears to be of a father mourning a son killed in Aleppo, has mistakenly been identified with the Manbij tragedy.

Heartbroken Syrian man mourns loss of his wife and son killed in todays heavy strikes on the ancient city of Aleppo.

Support our journalism

Help BuzzFeed News reporters expose injustices and keep quality news free.

Start
ADVERTISEMENT