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Amnesty: Iraq and allies violated international law in Mosul

July 11, 2017 at 11:24 am

Iraqi security forces celebrate the success of freeing Mosul from Daesh on 9 July 2017 [Yunus Keleş/Anadolu Agency]

International humanitarian law was violated during the battle to recapture Mosul from Daesh, Amnesty International said today, adding that some of the abuses may amount to war crimes.

Amnesty International said today it had identified a pattern of attacks by Iraqi forces and the US-led military coalition backing them in the battle for Mosul that violated international humanitarian law and may amount to war crimes.

Daesh had deliberately put civilians in harm’s way to shield its fighters and impede the advance of Iraqi and coalition forces, the international organisation said.

Read: With Mosul victory at hand, displaced residents ponder uncertain future

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi declared victory in Mosul yesterday, three years after Daesh seized the city and made it the stronghold of a “caliphate” they said would take over the world.

A 100,000-strong alliance of Iraqi government units, Kurdish peshmerga fighters and Shia militias had launched the offensive in October, with key air and ground support from the international coalition.

Much of Mosul has been destroyed in grinding street-to-street fighting, thousands of civilians have been killed and nearly a million people fled their homes, according to the United Nations.

Amnesty said Iraqi forces and the coalition carried out a series of unlawful attacks in west Mosul since January, relying heavily on Improvised Rocket Assisted Munitions (IRAMs), explosive weapons with crude targeting capabilities that wreaked havoc in densely populated areas.

Even in attacks that seem to have struck their intended military target, the use of unsuitable weapons or failure to take other necessary precautions resulted in needless loss of civilian lives and in some cases appears to have constituted disproportionate attacks.

Neither the Iraqi defence ministry nor coalition officials were immediately available to comment on the Amnesty report.

Neither the government nor the coalition keep track of civilian deaths. Amnesty said the toll just in west Mosul from attacks launched by pro-government forces was very likely higher than the 3,706 estimated by monitoring group Airwars.


“The true death toll of the west Mosul battle may never be known,” it said.