While early fighting in Mosul was presented as comparatively easy by Iraqi officials, as the troops near the city, the fighting is starting to get more fierce, and the civilian population trapped in the area is increasingly caught in the crossfire.
Increased fighting, and higher population density are a dangerous combination, and locals by and large are being prevented from fleeing the area. Unsurprisingly, this is leading to reports of a growing number of civilians killed and wounded in the area.
This has the PR people going into high gear, trying to manage the narrative around the deaths, with Western and Iraq officials accusing ISIS of forcing civilians into the city to use as human shields, and preventing them from relocating outside the city.
While some reports suggest this may be accurate, the US has also talked openly of conducting airstrikes against all “fighters” fleeing the city, which has led the Iraqi government to openly warn the civilian population of Mosul against fleeing, lest they get targeted as welll.
Civilians getting mistaken for fleeing ISIS fighters has been an ongoing problem for the US, who killed hundreds of civilians around the Syrian city of Manbij in such mistakes. Manbij was a much smaller city than Mosul, which has a population of over a million people potentially in the line of fire.
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