Middle East Mosul operation on hold as US investigates airstrikes targeting civilians

Mosul operation on hold as US investigates airstrikes targeting civilians
Smoke rises over the city during clashes between Iraqi forces and Islamic State extremists in Mosul, Iraq March 25, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Khalid al Mousily)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) –On Saturday, Iraqi security forces suspended the military operations to retake western Mosul from Islamic State (IS) extremists due to the increased number of civilian casualties, said a spokesperson from the Iraqi forces.

Iraqi civil defense officials and Mosul residents claim several people lay buried in collapsed buildings after coalition airstrikes hit an IS position in al-Jadida neighborhood where the extremists used civilians as human shields.  

The US Central Command said in a statement that a US warplane struck a location in west Mosul upon the request of the Iraqi forces on the ground. Civilians' death and injury was reported, prompting the US military to launched investigations.

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights in a statement on Saturday said that since the beginning of the operation to recapture west of Mosul, nearly 4000 civilians have died and more than 10,000 houses and buildings were destroyed due to the ongoing fighting between Iraqi forces and IS extremists in Mosul.

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights called upon the Iraqi military forces and the US-led Coalition to abide by the international humanitarian law in the fight against IS extremists, giving priority to the safety of civilians when striking the extremists in the densely populated areas.

In addition, the Iraqi Parliament speaker Salim al-Jibouri called for an emergency session of parliament on Tuesday to discuss the “massacre” in Mosul’s al-Jadida neighborhood.

 

Editing by Ava Homa