Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 160, March 25, 2017

News about Mosul was dominated by the Coalition bombing that left over 200 casualties. U.S. officials have admitted that the Coalition carried out air strikes in the Jadida neighborhood on March 17, but not to causing any losses. General Saadi of the Golden Division was quoted in the New York Times that the Iraqi forces called in a hit on three houses that the Islamic State were using for snipers, but they didn’t know there were civilians inside. He went on to claim that this was a trap set by IS to stop the battle. Another Iraqi general told the Washington Post that there was a car bomb outside the buildings and that contributed to the casualties, but civil defense officials who are responsible for digging through the debris for bodies and survivors said there was no sign of any vehicle bomb. According to Mosul municipal chief Abdul Sattar al-Habbo 240 bodies had been found so far. Bodies were still being pulled out of the debris by March 25, and restrictions on journalists were also put in place in the area. Both the Coalition and the Iraqi Defense Ministry have opened investigations into the matter. The Iraqi forces have been largely disingenuous over this incident. At first they denied anything happened, claiming the Islamic State was making up stories, and the media was not telling the truth, and they could be sued for doing so. Now they are saying that a car bomb might have contributed to the deaths, but that doesn’t appear to be true either. They are still trying to put all the blame on the insurgents. While the Iraqis might not have known there were people inside the three buildings, this was not part of an IS plot as the militants have used human shields since the start of the Mosul campaign in October, and have been forcing people to stay inside their fire positions for weeks now. Overall, this is part of a larger campaign by the government to deny bad news coming out of the war with IS especially if it involves civilians dying.

There was another discussion about Coalition tactics. The U.S. military denied that there has been any change in the rules of engagement for air strikes, stressing that all the guarantees to try to limit civilian casualties are still in place. At the same time, the ISF was saying it is much easier to call in Coalition planes, and President Trump called for a re-evaluation of the rules when he entered office. Whether the steps for strikes has been changed or not there is no denying that there are more of them, and the press is reporting an increase in civilian dead and wounded as a result.

The ISF said they halted their operations due to the heavy civilian losses, and that a new strategy was being devised. The Iraqis and Americans were already talking about coming up with a new battle plan as the ISF has run into a stalemate trying to take the Old City district along the Tigris River. The Golden Division also announced taking one neighborhood and attacking another at the start of the day. The Iraqis have stopped and started their advances again and again in recent days due to poor weather and the heavy fighting. Claiming the latest pause was due to the Jadida incident was likely a public relations move.

People in Mosul have warned that gangs are looting the city. New Sabah talked with human rights activists about organized groups going through abandoned houses in both the east and west. Some wear military uniforms so that they get about unmolested. They have been several reports of robberies going on in Mosul before.

Finally, there were news stories that 240 people had been killed and 64 wounded by Islamic State car bombs, mortars, and gunfire. Most were trying to escape the fighting that took their lives.

Federal Police saving a wounded boy west Mosul (AP)

Families carrying out their dead on carts from west Mosul’s Jadida neighborhood (AP)

Displaced males waiting to be screed at security checkpoint (AP)

Islamic State has blocked off streets with cars (AP)

Destroyed cars and buildings in west Mosul (AP)


Adel, Loaa, "Security forces kill 4 IS militants, evacuate 200 civilians bodies in Mosul," Iraqi News, 3/25/17

Al Alam, “US Coalition Carried out Deadly Mosul Airstrike: Pentagon,” 3/25/17

Baghdad Post, "10 civilians killed, injured in blast in Mosul," 3/25/17
- "Civilians killed in shelling targeting ISIS booby-trapped car in Mosul," 3/25/17
- "ISIS executes 36 civilians who attempted to flee right bank of Mosul," 3/25/17

BBC, “Battle for Mosul: US investigating deadly air strike,” 3/25/17

Guihaire, Edouard, “Escaping IS-held Mosul, residents head into unknown,” Agence France Presse, 3/25/17

Al Maalomah, "Daash carried out the execution of 191 civilians after attempting to flee the right bank of Mosul," 3/25/17
- "Recovered the bodies of nine civilian killed by Daash shelling in West Mosul," 3/25/17

Al Mada, “The joint forces intend to neutralize civilian casualties by dispensing with artillery and air strikes,” 3/25/17

New Arab, “Mosul rescue workers recount horror of devastating air raid,” 3/25/17

New Sabah, “Joint Operations using modern and sophisticated equipment suited to the fighting in West Mosul,” 3/25/17

Rudaw, “UPDATE: US says coalition strikes match reports of casualties in W Mosul,” 3/25/17

Shafaaq News, "Daesh commits a massacre and kills and injures more than 90 people who tried to escape West Mosul," 3/25/17
- “The Federal Police is defending itself against charges of using excessive force in Mosul,” 3/25/17

Xinhua, “Iraqi forces engage in street warfare in west Mosul to cut casualties,” 3/25/17

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