Thursday, July 24, 2014

Indiscriminate Air Strikes By Iraq’s Army On Civilian Targets


When the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) surrounded Fallujah in January 2014 it quickly turned to indiscriminate shelling of the city. Some of the strikes were targeted against insurgents, but the vast majority appeared to be simply lobbing mortar and artillery shells into Fallujah in the apparent belief that it was all enemy territory and therefore legitimate. Now that most of northern Iraq has fallen to insurgents the ISF has began using air strikes more and more against civilian targets with no apparent concern for casualties.

The Iraqi Army’s air arm has hit cities and towns in Ninewa, Salahaddin and Kirkuk since the June insurgent summer offensive started. The Iraqi press has reported 15 air strikes in Ninewa, 16 in Salahaddin, and two in Kirkuk, which have resulted in civilian casualties. There are likely more that have not gotten into the media. In total, 128 were killed and 147 wounded in Salahaddin from these strikes, 57 dead and 176 injured in Ninewa, and 11 fatalities and 29 wounded in Kirkuk. An example of the indiscriminate nature of these air attacks was on July 16 when Mosul University was hit resulting in two deaths and eight wounded. The school is an obvious civilian institution with no military value yet it was bombed. July 9 four houses in Dhuluiya, Salahaddin were hit leaving 2 dead and 15 injured. Dhuluiya is a town that has resisted forays by insurgents in the last few days. Why helicopters would target it must have either been a mistake or bad intelligence since it was not occupied by militants. Finally on June 27 Tikrit Hospital was bombed killing one and injuring four nurses. Again this was an obvious civilian facility. To add to these tragedies Human Rights Watch has documented cases where the Army Air Corps has used barrel bombs. July 9 a barrel bomb was dropped on a group of bathers in the Tigris River in the middle of Mosul, which killed 20 and wounded dozens. No insurgents were around. These all follow a pattern the ISF has set since the fall of Fallujah. It has indiscriminately hit towns and cities it has lost to insurgents with little regard for civilian fatalities. It appears to believe that all these areas are enemy territory and therefore everything is a legitimate target.

Reported Air Strikes In Salahaddin With Civilian Casualties
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Jun 13
3
6

7
10
Jun 22
7
13
Jun 24
22
12
Jun 25
10
20

2
3
Jun 26
1
3
Jun 27
1
4
Jun 30
6
13
Jul 2
18
18
Jul 6
1
8

19

Jul 9
2
15
Jul 20
4

Jul 22
5
6
Jul 23
20
16
TOTALS
16
128
147

Reported Air Strikes In Ninewa With Civilian Casualties
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Jun 22
1
6
Jun 25
5

Jun 28
7
2
Jun 30

40
Jul 1
1
1
Jul 6

17


8

1
40
Jul 8
5
11
Jul 9
20
12
Jul 12
6
7
Jul 16
2
8
Jul 17
3
13
Jul 20

9
Jul 23
6
2
TOTALS
15
57
176

Reported Air Strikes In Kirkuk With Civilian Casualties
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Jul 4

4
Jul 21
11
25
TOTALS
2
11
29


This is likely just a small sample of how many air strikes have actually occurred with civilian casualties. Many more have probably happened that did not get into the Iraqi newspapers. There are plenty of legitimate targets to hit and the Iraqi government mentions them every day and how many insurgents have been killed as a result of them. That makes it all the more shocking that the Iraqi Army would spend the time, money, and material to hit civilian targets in Ninewa, Salahaddin and Kirkuk over and over. They have zero impact upon the military situation, and can only anger the people in the locations that have been struck. This points to a lack of strategy and a waste of resources by the Iraqi Security Forces, along with a disregard for the population it is supposed to be protecting.

SOURCES

Alsumaria, "Killing a woman and wounding six children pounding west of Mosul," 6/22/14
- "Killing and wounding 26 civilians in bombing targeting a number of building north of Tikrit," 7/23/14
- "Killing and wounding eight civilians from the same family in bombing of their home south of Mosul," 7/23/14

Aswat al-Iraq, "4 wounded in south west Kirkuk," 7/4/14
- "11 killed, 25 wounded in Haweeja, Kirkuk," 7/21/14

Damon, Arwa, Carter Chelsea, and Smith-Spark, Laura, "Iraq crisis: Kurdish region closes crossings to Iraqis fleeing Mosul conflict," CNN, 6/28/14

Human Rights Watch, “Iraq: Civilian Toll of Government Airstrikes,” 7/23/14

Al Mada, "Killing and injuring 11 people by warplanes in bombing south-west of Mosul," 7/22/14
- "Killing and injuring 20 people in a bombing by helicopters targeting a gathering near a fuel station downtown Tikrit," 6/22/14
- "Killing and injuring 28 people in aerial bombing east of Tikrit," 7/23/14
- "Killing and injuring eight people in renewed air strikes east of Tikrit," 7/23/14
- "Killing and injuring five people pounding central Tikrit," 6/25/14
- "Killing and injuring six people from one family in aerial bombardment north of Mosul," 7/16/14
-"Killing and wounding 17 people from one family as helicopters targeted four houses south of Tikrit," 7/9/14
- "Killing and wounding 17 people in a plane bombing on a march on mosque set by Daash for "repentance" of the Police in Baiji," 6/13/14
- "Killing and wounding 30 people in the bombing of Baiji, north of Tikrit," 6/25/14
- "Killing and wounding 36 people in the bombing of Sharqat," 7/2/14
- "Killing and wounding 40 people pounding by Army Aviation north of Mosul," 7/6/14
- "Killing and wounding four civilians in bombing north of Tikrit by Army Aviation," 6/26/14
- "Killing element in the civil defense and wounding another in aerial bombardment on a number of areas of Mosul," 7/1/14
- "Killed five people by pounding of the village of Tar Afar, east of Mosul," 6/25/14
- "Nine dead and wounded aerial bombing targeting a mosque in Tikrit where Dash set for a "declaration of repentance of security forces," 6/13/14
- "Nine people were injured in aerial bombing in Mosul," 7/20/14
- "Ten people injured pounding by drone of the University of Mosul in northern city," 7/16/14
- "Witnesses: killing four people amid aerial bombardment Baiji," 7/20/14

NINA, "13 killed, wounded in Mosul," 7/12/14
- "/14/ Civilians killed and wounded by bombing west of Mosul," 7/9/14
- "16/ people, including women and children, killed and wounded in an aerial bombing of Mosul," 7/8/14
NINA-
- "19/ Civilians, mostly women and children killed by missile strikes on Tikrit," 7/6/14
- "40 people injured due to aircrafts' bombing on several areas in Mosul," 6/30/14
- "Eight civilians injured in Mosul," 7/6/14

Rudaw, "Iraqi Jets Bomb Tuz Khurmatu, Killing 12-Year-Old Girl," 7/6/14

Saad, Mustafa, "Killing three civilians and wounding 13 others in bombing the area of Rashidiya Mosul," Alsumaria, 7/17/14

Shafaq News, "34 casualties, mostly women and children in Baiji bombing north of Tikrit," 6/24/14

Xinhua, "Iraq army in tug-of-war fights with Sunni militants," 6/30/14

2 comments:

Faisal Kadri said...

"This points to a lack of strategy and a waste of resources by the Iraqi Security Forces, along with a disregard for the population it is supposed to be protecting."

Well said Joel.
We keep hearing Maliki's claims that his govt re-gained the initiative yet the events on the ground show that he is only reacting to ISIL's.

Joel Wing said...

Yes Baghdad's response so far is to throw untrained recruits into the field and rely more upon militias while making an ill advised stab at Tikrit twice that has failed up to now.

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