A Reuters TV crew in Western Mosul’s Zanjili District photographed the bodies of dozens of civilians left in the streets, who were identified as people who have tried to flee the district, which has been the site of heavy fighting, over the past two days.
The reporters obviously arrived on the scene after the fact, and conceded they weren’t able to conclusively say how everyone was killed. Many are believed to have been shot by ISIS forces, who have been firing on those trying to leave, while other reports suggest some of the casualties were the result of US airstrikes.
Large numbers of civilians remain trapped in Western Mosul, reflective both of ISIS attempts to prevent them leaving, and warnings by both US and Iraqi officials at the start of the city’s invasion, way back in October, that they should not attempt to flee, and might find themselves targeted as suspected ISIS if they did.
Early warnings not to flee have proven disastrous for the invading forces, who have struggled with an offensive regularly stalled by incidents of huge civilian casualties, and where Iraqi forces have several times taken time out to try to evacuate civilians who, but for the warnings, would’ve been able to leave the city long ago.