UN Urges US, Iraq to Rethink Mosul Strategy Amid Civilian Deaths

Says Invasion Must Keep Death Toll to Absolute Minimum

by Jason Ditz, March 28, 2017

While UN officials acknowledged the difficulty in expelling ISIS forces from the major northern Iraqi city of Mosul, they also warned the US and Iraqi governments that they need to “rethink” their strategy in the offensive amid the soaring civilian death toll.

The Iraqi government seems to have already drawn that conclusion, with officials saying a couple of days ago that the offensive had been halted pending a strategy change aimed at reducing the civilian deaths as their offensive goes deeper into the Old City, a densely populated area.

US officials are mostly just trying to manage the narrative after airstrikes last week which killed upwards of 200 civilians. They have also deployed some additional troops into Mosul, with an eye toward speeding up the offensive, but have provided no indication on changes.

A growing number of human rights groups have been criticizing the heavy use of US and coalition airstrikes against ISIS targets in heavily populated residential areas. This has been doubly problematic because Iraq warned civilians against fleeing ahead of the invasion, and made little preparation to absorb refugees.

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