By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Bloomberg News
September 25, 2014

WASHINGTON — A group of Syrian women activists delivered a jarring message to top American officials: Syrians aren’t grateful for the U.S.-led airstrikes, which they say have killed innocents and worsened the suffering.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is terrorizing the population as much as Islamic State does, the women said Wednesday. Targeting the extremists without also attacking the regime will only benefit Assad, and won’t help end the three-year civil war and the suffering of the Syrian people, which can be done only through political negotiations, they said.

“America is bombing us by night, and the regime is bombing us by day,” a 44-year-old political activist from a regime-held area said during a Bloomberg News interview in a New York coffee shop before they met with top U.S. officials.

The woman, who spoke on condition that she not be named because of the danger of reprisals when she returns to Syria, said that after U.S.-led airstrikes this week, community leaders outside Idlib said the U.S. attacks there killed 15 civilians, including four children and some women, and wounded tens of others, whom the regime is preventing from receiving medical attention.

She and other Syrian women activists, who also asked not to be identified for their safety, dismissed the U.S. military’s assertion that it hit only targets connected to Islamic State and Khorasan, an al-Qaida group.

Extremists live among the population, making it impossible to attack them without killing civilians, the women said.

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