Top British military official Stuart Peach has hit back at claims that the UK green-lit bombings on innocent Syrians in the name of fighting Islamic State. He said UK forces were “meticulous” in avoiding civilian casualties.
Chief of the Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach said Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) was a “really wicked and evil enemy” that used civilians as human shields. He added that the RAF had carried out “the most carefully planned air campaign in history.”
According to its damning report on the coalition forces by Amnesty International, residents were trapped as fighting raged in the streets between IS militants and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who were supported by coalition airstrikes. Escape routes for civilians were riddled with IEDs, put there by Islamic State, which also positioned snipers to shoot those trying to flee.
Amnesty International claims that during the four-month operation to eradicate Islamic State, the US-led coalition – which includes British forces – killed hundreds of civilians and injured many more.
Peach does not accept the claims made by Amnesty International. He said any allegation of civilian harm, with evidence of time and place, was properly investigated. Peach has overseen the battle against IS as chief of the defense staff for the past two years.
Accusations made against Peach’s defense forces come months after he warned that Russia could cut off UK undersea cables in an anti-Moscow scare campaign.
Peach warned that a modernized Russian Navy, using “both nuclear and conventional submarines and ships,” could attack sea lines of communication. Less than a month later, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson was parroting the same claims to the media. He told the Guardian that “thousands and thousands” could be killed if Moscow attacked Britain’s undersea cable energy lines. The claim was dubbed anti-Russian scaremongering.
Air Chief Marshal Peach has also said “Russia is a concern,” and that the Salisbury chemical attack and cyber-attacks are “becoming more regular, almost routine.” Russia has vehemently denied any involvement in the Skripal poisoning.
Next week, he will relocate to Brussels to take on a new job as chairman of NATO’s Military Committee.
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