Thursday, 02 April, 2020

Bombardment in Iraq's Mosul takes heavy toll on civilians

ISIL kills dozens of civilians trying to flee Mosul Displaced Iraqis walk through Mosul's Al Tayaran neighbourhood after fleeing the Old City on April 8. AFP AHMAD GHARABLI
Christy Curtis | 19 April, 2017, 02:43

Brigadier General Yahya Rasool says IS now controls less than a quarter of the land it held at its peak in the summer of 2014.

Dorrian said the operation to liberate Raqqa is the equivalent in Syria of what's being "done to eliminate the enemy" in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Mosul, 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under IS control since June 2014, when government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.

The United States and other Western countries have assisted with air support, intelligence and equipment, Rasool said.

US-backed Iraqi forces waging the battle for Mosul.

In January, Iraqi forces drove ISIL terrorists from eastern Mosul as part of a wide-ranging campaign launched late previous year to retake the city, which ISIL overran in mid-2014.

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"Al-Hadbaa minaret has been surrounded (by Iraqi forces), but it is known that it lies in a crowded residential area in the old city's center", Rasoul said, referring to the minaret in the Great Mosqiue of Al-Nuri.

Last month, a suspected coalition airstrike killed scores and injured hundreds in Mosul's western side.

But even if ISIL members are targeted, the fact that they are operating in areas still home to large numbers of residents means that civilians can easily still end up the victims.

Islamic State has used hundreds of auto bombs along with drones rigged with explosives in Mosul.

"This fighting in the western side of Mosul has been hard because of the enemy's tactics, of not only hiding amongst the civilian population but also actively pulling civilians into harm's way, surrounding their snipers with civilians, loading buildings that they are firing from with civilians and publicly executing civilians who are trying to escape the danger", said Colonel John L Dorrian, spokesman for the US-led International Coalitions. "They aren't going anywhere".


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