US Increases Role in Mosul, Leading to Rising Civilian Death Toll

Increased Reliance on Airstrikes Imperils Local Civilians

With the Iraqi invasion of Mosul having boiled down to just a fraction of the Old City in the east of the major city, the Iraqi military has found itself limping to the finish line, exhausted and increasingly relying on US involvement to keep moving in the right direction.

That’s but a growing number of US troops on the ground in combat zones, mostly for the sake of spotting for the ever escalating air war over the city. Unsurprisingly, despite assurances of absolute care, massive numbers of airstrikes in a densely populated, ruined city is also having a major impact on civilian casualties.

Over the last few months of the Mosul battle, the civilian death toll has been progressively and precipitously growing, with many high-profile incidents of US airstrikes killing scores or even hundreds of innocent Iraqis trapped in a war zone, unable to flee.

Desperation to end the Mosul battle has seen increasing desperation to do whatever it takes to move closer to the finish line, and clearly the rising death toll is something officials are willing to accept to that end. It is likely, however, that they’re really regretting their decision to discourage Mosul’s population from fleeing back in October when the invasion started, warning at the time they’d be targeted as “ISIS” if they were seen fleeing the city, and now finding them inconveniently massed in a city under invasion.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.