‘Mosul air strikes a bad tragedy’

At least 200 people were killed, including many civilians in Western Mosul following airstrikes by the coalition and Iraqi Airforce, the Chairman of Nineveh Provincial Council, Bashar al Kiki, told CNN.

“The coalition has opened a formal civilian casualty credibility assessment on this allegation and we are now analyzing conflicting allegations and all possible strikes in that area”, said Col. Joseph Scrocca, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve. “We are looking at getting ground truth”.

We spoke to fleeing civilians who told us repeatedly of IS using them as human shields.

The hundreds of videos span a 10-day period. He said the assessment is a high priority and anticipated it would last two to three weeks.

He called for an emergency session of parliament and an immediate investigation into the incident.

“We know that we were dropping bombs in the immediate vicinity, if not on specific buildings that have made it into the (reports)”, Thomas said.

In a statement released on Sunday, Centcom commander Gen. Joseph Votel said, “The death of innocent civilians in Mosul is a bad tragedy”.

“International humanitarian law is clear”.

Following the raids, the United Nations called on parties to the conflict to do “everything possible” to protect civilians in Mosul.

Iraqi pro-government forces launched an offensive to recapture the city – the last major IS urban stronghold in the country – five months ago.

It was impossible to say where the rockets landed but the US-led coalition insists they only target IS fighters and their equipment. Instead, they say so-called Islamic State (IS) is responsible for the deaths of those civilians.

The United Nations reported on Thursday that more than 1,000 people have been treated for conflict related trauma near front lines since the fight for western Mosul began February 19. “It’s a very densely-packed area, particularly in the Old City, so families have been terrified by the mortars, the shelling and the air strikes”, she told Al Jazeera from Baghdad. Thousands more are trapped in the fighting.

An inquiry is now underway in the U.S. to determine whether the bombs destroyed the civilian buildings, weakened them enough to create a collapse, or if IS “detonated an explosion after the airstrike to bring structures down”, says the LA Times.

In mid-February, Iraqi forces – backed by a USA -led air coalition – began fresh operations aimed at purging Daesh from the rest of the city.

“A huge detonated booby-trapped vehicle was found near the house”.

An Iraqi brigadier general said that bombing had damaged more than 27 residential buildings and that three were completely destroyed.

“We are often sorting through having poor access on the ground to the area to the area to get good understanding of it”, he said, including that access to the site of the March 17 attack will likely improve as the battle wages on. The U.S. military and Iraqi authorities have both launched formal investigations into the incident.

“You wouldn’t have Isis if we took the oil”, he said.

US President Donald Trump has remained silent on the calamity. It is possible that Trump has loosened the rules of engagement for the US Air Force, which is providing air support to the Iraqi Army. “They say it’s much more brutal, with many more air strikes and much more shelling”. However, U.S. forces are relying on militia fighters for targeting information, raising further concerns about civilian casualties in the expected battle for the city.

“There is no military force in the world that has proven more sensitive to civilian casualties”, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Monday at the Pentagon.

It has also been claimed that IS is using civilians as human shields in the region, hiding in houses and forcing young men to fight. “The same can not be said for our adversaries …”, he said.

Coalition strikes in Syria and Iraq killed an estimated 1,000 civilians, according to the independent monitoring group Airwars.

A member of Iraq's elite Rapid Response Division holds position in the northern city of Mosul as they continue the offensive to retake the city's western half from Islamic State