Mosul

Mosul: Civilians killed by airstrikes

Civilian casualties from US-led coalition airstrikes have raised serious questions about the lawfulness of these attacks, on 17 March 2017, up to 150 people were reported killed in a coalition airstrike in the Jadida neighbourhood of West Mosul.

“Evidence gathered on the ground in East Mosul points to an alarming pattern of US-led coalition airstrikes which have destroyed whole houses with entire families inside. The high civilian toll suggests that coalition forces leading the offensive in Mosul have failed to take adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths, in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law,” said Donatella Rovera, at Amnesty International.

Donatella continues "The fact that Iraqi authorities repeatedly advised civilians to remain at home instead of fleeing the area, indicates that coalition forces should have known that these strikes were likely to result in a significant numbers of civilian casualties. Disproportionate attacks and indiscriminate attacks violate international humanitarian law and can constitute war crimes.

“The Iraqi government and the US-led coalition, must immediately launch an independent and impartial investigation into the appalling civilian death toll resulting from the Mosul operation.”

Wa’ad Ahmad al-Tai, a resident of the al-Zahra neighbourhood of East Mosul:

“We followed the instructions of the government who told us ‘stay in our homes and avoid displacement’.  According to the instructions, residents who had nothing to do with Daesh [IS, in Arabic] should stay in their homes... We heard these instructions on the radio… Also leaflets were dropped by planes. This is why we stayed in our homes,” Wa’ad said.

“We were all huddled in one room at the back of the house, 18 of us, three families. But when the house next door was bombed, it collapsed on us, precisely over the room we were sheltering in. My son Yusef, nine, and my daughter Shahad, three, were killed, together with my brother Mahmoud, his wife Manaya and their nine-year-old son Aws, and my niece Hanan. She was cradling her five-month-old daughter, who survived, thank God,” he said.

Hind Amir Ahmad, a 23-year-old woman, described the attack:

“We were sleeping when the house literally collapsed on us. It was a miracle none of us was killed. We ran to my uncle’s house nearby. At about 2pm that house too was bombed and collapsed on us… almost everyone in the house was killed – 11 people. My cousin, two aunts and I were the only ones who survived. Everyone else died. It took us six days to find only pieces of their bodies, which we buried in a mass grave in a field nearby... I don’t know why we were bombed. All I know is that I have lost everyone who was dearest to me.”

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