A man exits house damaged during fights between Iraq security forces and Islamic State on the western side of Mosul, Iraq, Friday, March 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
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Daesh (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda-linked militants are quickly moving to drum up outrage over a sharp spike in civilian casualties said to have been caused by U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, posting photos online of a destroyed medical center and homes reduced to rubble.For the first time anger over lives lost is becoming a significant issue as Iraqi troops backed by U.S. special forces and coalition airstrikes wade into more densely populated districts of Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, and U.S.-backed Syrian fighters battle closer to Daesh's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.In Syria, as fighting around Raqqa intensified, civilian fatalities from coalition airstrikes rose to 198 in March – including 32 children and 31 women – compared to 56 in February, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based activist group that documents Syria's war.The U.S. military is investigating what role the U.S. played in the March 17 airstrike in Mosul, and American and Iraqi officials have said militants may have deliberately gathered civilians there and planted explosives in the building.U.S. officials have said they are investigating other claims of casualties in Syria and Iraq.
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