Amnesty International stated that Iraqi security forces and US-led military coalition haven't taken adequate precautions for protecting civilians during the offensive to recapture the city of Mosul from ISIS and violated international law.
released a statement, pointing out that Iraqi security forces and
US-led military coalition haven't taken adequate precautions for
protecting civilians during the offensive to recapture the city of
Mosul from ISIS and violated international law. “The shocking spike
in civilian casualties from both US-led coalition airstrikes and
ground fighting between the Iraqi military and IS fighters in recent
months has also raised serious questions about the lawfulness of
Stating that "the high civilian toll suggests that coalition forces leading the offensive in Mosul have failed to take adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths", Amnesty International said that this is "flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.”
Amnesty International noted that hundreds of civilians have been killed “by airstrikes inside their homes or in places where they sought refuge." The report also includes testimonies and accounts of the survivors who said that Iraqi government advised them not to leave and stay where they are.
Witnesses also reminded that ISIS fighters had been hiding in destroyed houses or untargeted buildings.
“Iraqi authorities prevent people from fleeing”
Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International, who carried out field investigations in Mosul, said: “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."
Witnesses state that hundreds of people have been killed by airstrikes during this month.
Coalition forces, which claim that they have taken precautions for causing minimum harm to civilians, haven't made any statement concerning Amnesty International's report.
While some officials and witnesses state that hundreds of civilians have been killed, Amnesty International pointed out that "on 17 March 2017, up to 150 people were reported killed in a coalition airstrike in the Jadida neighborhood of West Mosul."
US Central Command acknowledged that it was the coalition planes that struck the buildings in which civilians were killed, but hadn't announced to which country those planes belong.
On the other hand, Iraqi government claimed that those buildings weren't destroyed because of airstrikes, but by ISIS with car bombs.
Journalists in the region state that the attack on March 17 is the most deadliest incident since 2003 Invasion of Iraq.
"Civilians targeted as they flee"
On the other hand, Patrick Cockburn, Independent's Mosul correspondent, claims that "civilians in western Mosul are being shot at by Isis and Iraqi forces alike as they try to flee."
It is estimated that there are about 400,000 civilians in Mosul for now. According to the accounts covered by Cockburn, people live on bread and water from wells, as the shortage of food grows.
Iraqi army launched an offensive on October in order to recapture Mosul, which ISIS captured in 2014.
US-led coalition assists Iraqi army with airstrikes and special operation forces.
It is estimated that more than 280,000 Mosul resident have left the city so far. It is also reported that many people stay in the city upon the calls of Iraqi army.