The Peninsular Quatar & Al Araby & Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & The Daily Star & The Associated Press – 2016-12-15 21:46:50
Iraq: US-led Coalition Raid Kills 9 in Mosul
The Peninsular Quatar
NINEVEH, Iraq (December 14, 2016) — Nine members of the same family were killed Tuesday in a US-led coalition airstrike in Mosul amid a major offensive to recapture the northern Iraqi city from Islamic State terrorist group.
Iraqi police officer Sabhan al-Makholi said a missile fired by an unmanned drone struck a house in al-Falah district, which was recently captured by Iraqi forces from IS in eastern Mosul. “Nine family members were killed in the attack,” he told Anadolu Agency.
US-led coalition warplanes have been striking IS targets in Mosul from the air as part of an ongoing offensive to retake the IS-held city. Iraq’s second largest city in terms of population, Mosul — along with vast swathes of territory in both northern and western Iraq — was overran by IS in mid-2014.
Iraqi officials have vowed to recapture Mosul — the last IS stronghold in northern Iraq — from the terrorist group by the year-end.
Mosul: Bombardment Kills
40 Civilians with Injured Under Rubble
(December 14, 2016) — At least 40 civilians have been killed including women and children and dozens of others injured in air raids and artillery fire in the east of the Islamic State group [IS] bastion of Mosul, local and medical sources have said.
The civilians were killed early on Wednesday with many of the injured still trapped under rubble amid intense fighting in the city’s al-Nour, al-Fallah and al-Quds districts between pro-government forces and IS fighters.
“We have been informed that some of the dead and injured have remain trapped under rubble since early this morning. Rescue teams have only been able to reach a few of them,” a medic at Mosul hospital told The New Arab.
“We have not been able to retrieve the bodies amid the ongoing fighting and bombardment. Some of the victims were killed in IS artillery fire in areas under government control in the east,” the doctor added.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has recently promised that “heavy weaponry” would not be used in residential areas in Mosul to prevent civilian casualties.
Leader in the Nineveh Operations Command, Jassim al-Hilfi, told The New Arab that government forces were attempting to get a foothold in new districts east of the Tigris river, adding that his forces had “objectives they wanted to achieve on Wednesday”.
Pro-government forces launched an assault on October 17 to eject IS from its last Iraqi stronghold. They have taken almost half of eastern Mosul. Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Units) paramilitary forces said on Tuesday that they retook three more villages southwest of Mosul, completing another phase in operations aimed at cutting the extremists’ link to Syria.
The elite Counter-Terrorism Service now controls several eastern neighbourhoods and is closing in on the river Tigris that divides the city.
Federal police and interior ministry forces have mostly been fighting on a southern front, stalled within striking distance of Mosul airport south of the city.
The United Nations says a total of 90,000 people have been displaced as a result of the Mosul operation.
Report Faults Lack of US Transparency in Anti-ISIS Airstrikes
Notes US Reports on Civilian Casualties ‘Significantly Biased’
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(December 12, 2016) — London-based monitoring group Airwars has issued a new report on the US and coalition airstrikes against ISIS, faulting the US for its lack of transparency in the strikes, and in particularly the “opaque, ad hoc, and significantly biased” handling of reports of civilian casualties.
US figures on civilians killed in the air war in Iraq and Syria tend to be many months behind, and even then dramatically underreported, often ignoring or offering wild undercounts of incidents that were highly publicized at the time and well known.
The result of this is that the US has acknowledged a total of 173 civilian deaths in the course of the air war, with their figures starting in 2014 and going up to the summer of 2016. Airwars own monitoring has put the figure at a minimum of 1,500 civilians killed.
This is a huge difference, of course, but exactly how it got there isn’t hard to see, with the US refusing to carry out investigations into the vast majority of reports of civilian deaths, arguing that they don’t think the claims are “credible.”
A glaring recent incident was the July 18 airstrikes north of Manbij, Syria, in which the Syrian Observatory reported 56 civilians killed initially, and other groups later said the toll had risen to around 200. The US didn’t even mention the incident in their November report, but finally got around to it in December. Even then, their final report said “up to 24” were killed.
Back in July the US insisted they mistook the fleeing Manbij civilians for ISIS, and myriad other such incidents (like mistaking a granary full of grain for an ISIS headquarters) have been reported, but it is rare indeed for them to make their way into official government figures, and if they do, the final toll can be expected to have been shaved down to a bare minimum.
Lack of Transparency in DAESH Fight
The Daily Star & The Associated Press
BAGHDAD: (December 13, 2016) — A report released Monday by Airwars, a London-based project aimed at tracking the U.S.-led coalition’s airstrikes targeting Daesh (ISIS), criticized the coalition’s lack of transparency when assessing civilian casualties.
While U.S. officials have acknowledged that 173 civilians have died in coalition airstrikes since the launch of the campaign against Daesh in the summer of 2014, the Airwars group says the number of civilian casualties is much greater: at least 1,500.
The Airwars project said the discrepancy in the numbers of acknowledged civilian casualties is partially due to how civilian deaths are investigated, assessments carried out by the coalition are “opaque, ad hoc, and significantly biased toward internal military reporting,” the group said.
The coalition has been repeatedly criticized for the slow pace of investigations into civilian casualties in the fight against Daesh. The coalition has carried out more than 16,500 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Daesh since the fight against the militant group was launched in 2014.
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