MOSUL, Iraq – Destroyed homes and bodies buried beneath the rubble are the scenes increasingly coming out of west Mosul.
On Thursday, an estimated 200 civilians were killed. Initial reports
indicate a coalition airstrike hit explosives laid by ISIS near three houses where the militants had gathered large numbers of civilians.
“We are stunned by this terrible loss of life and wish to express our deepest condolences to the many families who have reportedly been impacted by this tragedy,” the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Lise Grande, said on Friday in a press release.
“Nothing in this conflict is more important than protecting civilians,” she continued. “International humanitarian law is clear. Parties to the conflict – all parties – are obliged to do everything possible to protect civilians. This means that combatants cannot use people as human shields and cannot imperil lives through indiscriminate use of fire-power.”
Rudaw’s cameras in west Mosul on Friday filmed survivors looking for the bodies of their relatives. The small hand of a child could be seen reaching out beneath the rubble as men work to pull out the bodies.
The fierce fight between ISIS and Iraqi security forces has left a high level of destruction in west Mosul.
The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights reported that more than 500 civilians have been killed in coalition airstrikes.
The coalition said it is investigating the reports of civilian casualties resulting from airstrikes on the city.