Thursday, December 21, 2017

Collateral amage

The number of civilian causalities from the U.S.-backed battle to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State was 10 times higher than previously reported, an Associated Press investigation finds. 

"We are horrified, but not surprised, by these new figures," said Lynn Maalouf, head of research for Amnesty International in the Middle East.

During the military campaign waged from October 2016 to July 2017, AP reports that between 9,000 and 11,000 people were killed; 4,200 were confirmed as civilian dead.

"Of the nearly 10,000 deaths the AP found, around a third of the casualties died in bombardments by the U.S.-led coalition or Iraqi forces, the AP analysis found. Another third of the dead were killed in the Islamic State group's final frenzy of violence. And it could not be determined which side was responsible for the deaths of the remainder, who were cowering in neighborhoods battered by airstrikes, ISIS explosives and mortar rounds from all sides."

Morgue logs indicate many people were killed by being "blown to pieces" in west Mosul, where as ISIS fighters "packed hundreds of families into schools and government buildings," ostensibly to dissuade airstrikes. That tactic failed. That figure, says a human rights group, shows a brazen disregard for the need to minimize civilian harm.

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