Amnesty: Coalition not doing enough to protect civilians
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 29, 2017,
Mar 29, 2017, 8:33
"Either way, increased harm to civilians is bound to have a detrimental strategic impact", said Rita Siemion, global legal counsel at Human Rights First.
The Pentagon has said it is investigating all three strikes. If there is sufficient evidence, a formal investigation will be launched.
TRT World's Nafisa Latic reports on the condition of civilians in Mosul. "But they do have obligations under worldwide humanitarian law". It's estimated that more than 4,600 civilians have died and 8,000 injured since the coalition began airstrikes in March 2015.
Helicopters were strafing Islamic State targets around Al Nuri mosque, where Islamic State's leader declared his caliphate almost three years ago after militants took control of swaths of Iraq and Syria.
If accurate, the casualties reported in the last couple of weeks would more than double the total acknowledged by the us -led coalition since the bombing campaign started in August 2014.
US President Donald Trump has vowed to wipe Islamist terrorism "from the face of the Earth" and says he wants the US to "start winning wars again" - but he's gotten off to a rocky start in the Middle East.
At its peak, US troop levels in Iraq stood near 166,000; the Obama administration capped the number of troops in Iraq in their current mission at around 5,000.
To retake Mosul from the Islamic State, the president has ordered 200 more US soldiers into the fight and has allowed them to go closer to the front lines to support Iraqi forces. Thousands more are trapped in the fighting.
Iraqi officials and witnesses have said air strikes took a devastating toll on civilians in the Mosul Al-Jadida area in recent days, but the number of victims - said by some to number in the hundreds - could not be independently confirmed.
But the civilian deaths can not be attributed to any loosening of American military rules of combat, he said, and Washington hasn't chose to tolerate greater risk of civilian casualties in USA airstrikes.
An Iraqi counterterrorism commander said the March 17 strike was called in on an ISIS vehicle bomb. At least 160 bodies have been pulled from the rubble, locals said.
A spokesman for U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees the ISIS war, also said Monday it's not changing its rules of engagement. "If one can not establish for hours that the airstrikes are hitting the wrong targets, then such actions of the US military startle me, as they possess the necessary [targeting] equipment", Lavrov said Monday.
"We don't just have ad hoc people who are not trained and who have experience looking at these things", he said.
Still, the Trump administration has called for a top-to-bottom review of the current battle plan, which may include loosening restrictions to expedite the defeat of the Islamic State.
It is "essential the coalition and the Iraqi forces really try hard to minimise the impact on the civilians", he said.
The search must be transparent, to identify the causes and numbers of civilian casualties in each case, to be able to make it public, he said.
"It is very possible that Daesh [IS] blew up that building to blame it on the collation in order to cause a delay in the offensive into Mosul and cause a delay in the use of collation airstrikes, that is very possible", Milley told reporters after meetings at the Iraqi Defence Ministry.
According to the United Nations, at least 307 men, women and children were killed between February 17 and March 22 in western Mosul, while 273 were injured. USA officials have confirmed that their aircraft struck in the vicinity of the building, which photos and video posted to social media shows has since collapsed, allegedly killing as many as 200 civilians.
Defense Secretary James Mattis said Monday the military does "everything humanly possible to reduce the loss of life or injury among innocent people".
Dunlap cited a coalition spokesman as saying ISIS used "inhuman tactics" like "terrorizing civilians, using human shields, and fighting from protected sites such as schools, hospitals, religious sites, and civilian neighborhoods". "The same can not be said for our adversaries".