A Kurdish news agency reporting directly from Mosul has reported that at least 237 people have been killed in airstrikes in the Mosul Al-Jadida neighbourhood of the war-ravaged city, most of them believed to be civilians.
A correspondent working for the Iraqi Kurdish news site Rudaw in Mosul said that 130 of the people who were killed were huddled inside one residential building alone, while around 100 others were hit inside another.
While the vast majority of those killed were civilians, some Daesh militants could be among the dead though it is currently unclear.
“Some of the dead were taking shelter inside the homes,” said the correspondent, Hevidar Ahmed.
The advance of the Iraqi army against Daesh positions has come to a halt in the neighbourhood and the surrounding area in western Mosul due to the bombing and intense Daesh resistance.
Daesh is making extensive use of the bombed out terrain, deploying snipers, armoured car bombs, booby-traps and prepared ambush sites to strike Iraqi units.
Military officials regularly cite the problem of Daesh militants using human shields, and preventing civilians from leaving homes where they fight in order to deter airstrikes. On this occasion, however, airstrikes believed to be either from the US-led coalition or the Iraqi air force were entirely undeterred, leading to hundreds of civilians, including women and children, being obliterated in the air raid.
The US Central Command has confirmed that they are aware of the massive civilian casualties, confirming Rudaw’s report, and said that they were conducting an investigation into the matter.
The UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande, told reporters last week that civilians are at risk whether they choose to flee the city or remain in their homes.
Those who choose to stay face extreme risks from crossfire, snipers, and explosive hazards; while families who choose to leave are equally at risk due to sectarian Shia jihadist organisations bent on revenge abducting, torturing and killing the largely Sunni Arab refugees from Mosul.