Growing Civilian Casualties as Iraq Slowly Advances in Mosul

Hospitals Struggle With Hundreds of Wounded Civilians

Heavy fighting continues in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where the Iraqi military continues to struggle to capture more territory in the eastern side of the city, which is still largely controlled by ISIS. It is slow going, as ever, but the fighting is leading to a lot of casualties, and not just among combatants.

UN humanitarian officials report several hundred wounded civilians have come out of the area each of the last couple of weeks, overwhelming the makeshift hospitals in controlled outskirts, with more serious cases being sent to the Kurdish capital of Irbil.

Urban combat in Mosul is going street to street at a very slow rate, and civilians have very limited options for fleeing the fighting, with the bridges in the city all destroyed. This has meant many fleeing out the way invading forces came in, and led to reports of ISIS shooting at fleeing civilians.

Iraqi PM Hayder Abadi accused ISIS of having blown up the bridges to “slow the Iraqi advance.” This does not appear to be the case, as the bridges were largely destroyed in US airstrikes early in the offensive to limit ISIS movement back and forth, and Iraqi forces haven’t gotten to the river in major numbers, meaning there would be no reason to try to slow them down.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.