U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS will investigate civilian deaths in Mosul operation

NTD Staff
By NTD Staff
March 27, 2017US News

A U.S. general who is involved in the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq said that every effort was made to protect civilians in a western Mosul operation.

Making the comments on March 26, deputy commanding general Brig. Gen. Matthew Isler also said the coalition will investigate reports on civilian deaths during the operation.

Isler said he could not provide details of the military investigation into the civilian deaths.  

“The coalition takes every feasible measure to protect civilians from harm. The coalition takes every allegation seriously and investigates all credible allegations,” Isler told Reuters in a telephone interview from Baghdad, Iraq.

Isler’s response comes after the U.S. military said on March 25 that a U.S.-led coalition airstrikes hit an area where as many as 200 civilians may have been killed, according to residents and officials there.

“An initial review of strike data from March 16-23 indicates that, at the request of the Iraqi Security Forces, the Coalition struck ISIS fighters and equipment, March 17, in West Mosul at the location corresponding to allegations of civilian casualties,” said the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in a statement.  

“The coalition respects human life, which is why we are assisting our Iraqi partner forces in their effort to liberate their lands from ISIS brutality. Our goal has always been for zero civilian casualties, but the coalition will not abandon our commitment to our Iraqi partners because of ISIS’s inhuman tactics terrorizing civilians, using human shields, and fighting from protected sites such as schools, hospitals, religious sites and civilian neighborhoods.”

There are conflicting accounts about the explosion that happened in west Mosul, which resulted in collapsed buildings that killed and buried many people.

CENTCOM said a Civilian Casualty Credibility Assessment will be opened “to determine the facts surrounding this strike and the validity of the allegation of civilian casualties.”

It will investigate whether the bombs were dropped by the United States, other coalition members, or ISIS, and whether the numbers of civilian casualties are correct.

Isler said there was a big focus on this investigation but did not speculate about how long it would take.

He said ISIS had intensified fighting in Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq that terrorists seized.

Iraqi forces are engaged in a months long operation to drive ISIS from the city.

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