In a sharp reversal, the U.S. has started prioritizing battlefield gains over civilian safety.

Overturning more than a decade of careful “hearts and minds” military operations, the United States has signaled that the major U.S.-backed combat offensives against ISIS in Iraq and Syria should proceed regardless of the cost to civilians.

Under orders to “annihilate” the extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State, the Defense Department is unleashing airstrikes, long-range artillery and rocket fire against ISIS-held neighborhoods in Raqqa, Syria, where civilians have been told by U.S.-backed militias to shelter in place. Meanwhile, airstrikes continue against ISIS positions in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

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