モースルの民間人犠牲者急増を巡る論議 2: ずくなしの冷や水

2017年04月02日

モースルの民間人犠牲者急増を巡る論議 2

RT2017/3/30
‘Wherever we went, we got bombed’: Mosul refugees slam Iraqi & US anti-ISIS offensive (EXCLUSIVE)

Exploring the destroyed parts of Mosul, RT has been able to gather more evidence in support of Amnesty International's report which accuses the US-led coalition and Iraqi government of indiscriminately bombing houses with civilians inside along with ISIS targets.

The debris of destroyed houses, schools and hospitals have turned Iraq’s second largest city into an urban graveyard after the US-led coalition and Iraqi government forces launched the offensive in October to liberate the city.

With explosions and gunfire heard in the distance, RT's crew saw US-led coalition jets heading to and from Mosul every 5–10 minutes on Tuesday night. They also witnessed an Iraqi helicopter launching missiles at IS targets on Wednesday and heard chilling stories of how Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists continue to use civilians as human shields during airstrikes.

But instead of organizing humanitarian corridors for civilian to leave the city, the Iraqi government, as noted in the Amnesty International report earlier this week, has been urging Mosul residents to stay inside. Unfortunately for many of them, the perceived safety of their homes became their graves, as Iraqi and US forces continue to target their houses.

“Hundreds of civilians have been killed by airstrikes inside their homes or in places where they sought refuge after following Iraqi government advice not to leave during the offensive to recapture the city of Mosul from the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS),” Amnesty said Tuesday in their detailed report based on witness' testimonies.

The city itself and the refugee camp near Mosul are full of people whose houses were hit or destroyed just after they ran away ignoring government advice.

“When we were in our home, it was hit by a shell. We went to my parent’s house, and it was hit by a rocket. Wherever we went, we’d be bombed. I heard an airstrike destroyed our home,” one woman with a child told RT.

“Why is there no precision here? Air strikes are hitting us and Daesh is a small mouse, why are they bombing the city? The city is gone,” Mosul resident Abu Sayif told RT's Ruptly video agency. “Have no mercy, no mercy, airstrikes are very bad.”

“This is the bombing, they are destroying everything,” local resident named Akram told Ruptly.

Others on the ground in Mosul have complained to RT that IS continue to use civilians as human shields during daily airstrikes, terrorizing residents and preventing anyone from leaving the western Mosul.

“IS hurt us a lot, they starved us; there is no water to drink, there is no gas, there is no food,” said Abdlrazaq Abdalkarem Qasim a Mosul resident.

“There are 4 or 5 families that can't come out, the fighting is weakened. These guys [the Iraqi army] keep fighting, they can´t beat them but they [Daesh] are using a lot of snipers,” said Basim Muhammad Jasim, another local of Mosul.

“We are concerned about the pattern of civilian casualties which has been happening since the start of the operation [on October 17],” Donatella Rovera, AI's senior crisis response adviser who carried out field investigations in Mosul, told RT. “Amnesty International is concerned that there is disproportionate use of force and this could constitute war crimes.”

Rovera told RT that the US coalition is failing to undertake “all possible and feasible precautions to minimize civilian casualties,” especially when it comes to cases where civilian structures are destroyed.

“The use of munitions and tactics at times are causing civilian casualties − notably in situations where ISIS fighters are on the roof of houses − large munitions have been used which have destroyed those houses and killed the civilians in the house,” Rovera explained on Tuesday.

Following Amnesty’s report, the Pentagon admitted that its air campaign in Mosul “probably had a role” in the mounting civilian death toll in the city.

“If these innocents were killed by the coalition, it was an unintentional accident of war,” Lieutenant General Steve Townsend the commander of the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve said Tuesday, as the UN Human Rights chief announced that at least 307 people have been killed and 273 wounded in just over a month in Mosul.

The US insists that no more than 200 civilians have been killed in coalition airstrikes in Mosul, but the UK-based monitoring group Airwars says the number could be more than 10 times higher.

Some 400,000 civilians are still trapped in the Old City of Mosul, which is held by IS militants. They are facing food and electricity shortages, a representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Iraq earlier told Reuters, adding that between 8,000 and 12,000 people flee the city daily.

RT2017/3/30
‘Credibility’ probe into US-led coalition airstrike in Mosul raised to formal investigation

The US military has elevated the level of inquiry into the suspected Mosul airstrike that allegedly killed dozens of civilians from a “credibility assessment” to a full formal investigation, the head of the US Central Command has said at a Congress briefing.

"It will be a more formalized approach to really look into the details of this as much as we can to establish what happened, establish what the facts are, identify accountability and then certainly identify the lessons learned out of that," Army General Joseph Votel, the US CENTCOM commander, said during a House Armed Services Committee hearing, referring to the incident on March 17.

Dozens of civilians died as a residential building in western Mosul collapsed after a suspected airstrike carried out by the US-led coalition.

General Votel also agreed with an earlier assessment by another high-ranking US military official, Lieutenant General Steve Townsend, who commands the Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF–OIR), who said, “there is a fair chance that our operation may have contributed to these casualties.”

The CENTCOM commander went on to say that Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL) is most likely to have a hand in this tragedy. “The enemy does use human shields, has little regard for human life,” and tries to use reports of civilian casualties to hinder the Iraqi forces campaign supported by the coalition, so “they bear the responsibility for this as well,” Votel said.

He added that Islamic State is “exploiting” the US “sensitivity for civilian casualties” and expressly agreed with the statement of the Rep. Martha McSally (R-Arizona), who said that if the US doesn’t kill ISIS terrorists, they will kill more civilians.

Votel also confirmed that US forces are not going to change the rules of engagement in its fight against Islamic State in Iraq despite the risk of greater civilian casualties. Earlier, CENTCOM spokesman, Colonel John Thomas, told journalists that “General Votel is not looking into changing the way we operate other than to say our processes are good.”

The alleged airstrike hit western Mosul’s al-Jadida neighborhood destroying a residential building and burying dozens of people under the rubble. The Iraqi military said in a statement that 61 bodies were subsequently pulled from the ruins, while a municipal official said the death toll of the attack was as high as 240.

Meanwhile, Votel said that 284 Iraqi soldiers have been killed and 1,600 injured since the fighting started in western Mosul.

On March 25, the CJTF–OIR issued a statement, in which it admitted that the US-led coalition did carry out an airstrike targeting the area at the request of the Iraqi forces around the time when the incident happened, adding that it opened a probe into the coalition’s alleged involvement in the issue.

The Iraqi War Media Cell has meanwhile issued its own statement concerning the incident, in which it said the building was likely blown up by Islamic State terrorists’ booby traps and had not been targeted by a coalition airstrike.

Earlier, the UN expressed its “profound concern” over the “high number of civilian casualties in al-Jadida in Iraq,” referring particularly to the March 17 incident.

The US-led coalition forces are fully aware that civilians are getting killed by their airstrikes in Mosul but they still favor mass bombing as it seems to be the easiest strategy to retake the city, Jurgen Todenhofer, the first western journalist, who spent ten days in the area controlled by Islamic State, told RT.

He also said the US-led coalition has not been particularly effective in defeating Islamic State as a terrorist group as it helps the Iraqi forces to seize territories from the extremists.“The civilians are bombarded almost every day," especially now, when the US-led coalition prepares for one of the biggest attacks on the Mosul old city, Todenhofer said, describing the situation in Mosul.

He said the coalition forces “use the same strategy: they bomb the parts [of the city] they want to [seize] and then the special forces from several nations enter and fight down those, who are left,” adding that “many civilians are killed” as a result of such strategy.

“In Aleppo, civilians as well as rebels and even … Al Nusra terrorists got an opportunity to leave,” he added, pointing out that “in Iraq, there was no such strategy to protect the civilians.”

The journalist went on to say that “everyone, who bombs the city, knows that they will kill civilians and the Americans know it exactly” because when the coalition hits a house it often does not know, “who exactly can be in that house, so they know exactly that they are killing civilians.”

Todenhofer added that “the number of civilians killed in Sunni cities like Tikrit, Fallujah, Ramallah … and Mosul [as a result of the coalition airstrikes] is ten times higher than the number of Islamic State fighters” and in Mosul it could well have reached 10,000.

“The Americans have been quite successful in destroying Islamic State as a state but not as a terrorist group,” he said, adding that the terrorists entrenched in western Mosul are likely to flee the city “as they have escaped from other [Iraqi] cities.”

Todenhofer said he was told that “at least 600 IS fighters now [act] as sleepers in eastern Mosul” and those, who are now fighting in the western part of the city, could flee to the desert and they would be “joined by the young people, who lost their homes and their families.”

RT2017/3/30
‘Time to sound the alarm bells’ as Mosul plight has ‘escalated to the limit,’ Moscow says
The humanitarian plight of war-torn Mosul has “escalated to the limit,” with the Iraqi president comparing it to a “full-on catastrophe,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.

The city “is running out of essential food and medical supplies,” with “experts warning about a threat of mass famine if the assault on the city lasts longer.”

So far, it seems like such a turn of events is highly likely, Zakharova said, adding that the Iraqi forces’ advance has seen little success and become bogged down in intense city battles.

Another frequently-voiced danger for the locals is the US-led coalition’s airstrikes targeting residential areas.

“With such population density, what kind of pinpoint strikes are our Western partners talking about?” Zakharova asked.

According to the latest UN data, 307 people died in western Mosul on March 17-22, and “these are only the deaths that have been confirmed,” the Foreign Ministry spokesperson added.

“We still have to fully estimate the real scale of casualties.”

The Russian official’s concerns have been echoed by Katharina Ritz, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Iraq.

“The concern for us is that the highest standard should be maintained when it comes to protecting the civilian population in any conflict, in any area. To have military warfare in densely populated areas in western Mosul, precautions and care need to be the priority,” she told RT.

“It’s time to toll the alarm bells,” the official added.

“The Mosul humanitarian situation has escalated to the limit. The Iraqi president has compared it with a full-on catastrophe,” Zakharova said.

RT2017/4/1
Belgium probes own possible involvement in Mosul strike that killed 200+

Belgium has opened a preliminary investigation to determine if its jets were responsible for civilian casualties on at least two occasions in Iraq. One probe seeks to establish whether a Belgian F-16 was involved in the March 17 strike which killed over 200 people.

In one of the deadliest single incidents of the Mosul siege, hundreds of people lost their lives in the al-Jadida neighborhood on March 17 from what the initial reports indicated to be a US-led coalition airstrike.

With the exact number of casualties still unclear, Mosul’s municipality chief, Abdul Sattar al-Habbo, who was supervising the rescue, said 240 bodies had been pulled from the rubble.

Confirming that the US is conducting its own investigation into the March 17 incident, the Pentagon earlier this week admitted that its air power could have been behind the deadly strike.

Following suit, Belgium which is part of the anti-IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL) coalition, also announced that it will now examine whether its jets might have been involved in targeting civilian sites on a least two occasion on March 17.

“We have opened a preliminary investigation to establish... whether all procedures were observed during two incidents,” prosecutors’ spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt told AFP on Friday. “If rules of engagement were properly observed... it is possible that no crime was committed.”

Belgian MP Wouter De Vriendt told VRT newscast that the case involved strikes carried out by Belgian F-16 fighter jets on March 17.

Belgium is one of 66 countries that the US has called on to help defeat IS terrorists in Iraq and Syria. The Benelux country is contributing to the US-led coalition by offering approximately 35 personnel for strike operations in Iraq deploying its fleet of six 6 F-16A/Bs based in Jordan. In addition, Brussels has dispatched approximately 120 personnel to support air-combat missions.

With separate American and Belgian investigations underway, the US-led coalition consistently reminds the media that IS often use civilians as human shields.

Investigators are now trying to determine whether civilians were forced into buildings before it was struck by coalition forces or whether jihadists destroyed the building themselves.

The Iraqi War Media Cell said the building could have been blown up by terrorists who “booby-trapped” the building. “No hole or other indication” was discovered to suggest that the US coalition had struck the building directly, it said.

RT2017/4/3
Media coverage of Iraqi Mosul op ‘censored & suppressed’ – RT reporter in embattled city

The Iraqi Army keeps press coverage of its operation in Mosul “censored and suppressed,” only allowing access to certain locations, RT’s Murad Gazdiev, reporting from the scene, says, as the UN warns of soaring civilian casualties.

When Murad Gazdiev arrived in the embattled city to cover the latest events, Iraqi officers warned his crew not to film what is being done to the city.

Gazdiev gave as an example an operation to dismantle a bomb, apparently left behind by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants in one of the houses.

Iraqi troops made the decision to blow up the building rather than demine it. They also did not allow the media to cover the event.

“So apparently they’ve found an IED – and explosive device left behind by ISIS in a house over there – a booby trapped house. They’re going to blow it up – but they aren’t going to let us film. They say it’s not worth the fuss of disarming it – so instead, they’re going to blow up the house,” Gazdiev said.

He added that “undesirable footage” is confiscated and journalists are “threatened with bans for negative coverage.”

“Information is contained. One of the biggest and deadliest battles of the 21st century – is actually also one of the most censored and suppressed,” he said, adding that all journalists in Mosul are guided by Iraqi media officials.

On Saturday, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq released casualty figures for March – the deadliest month since the start of 2017, with 548 civilians killed.

The majority of deaths (367) took place in Nineveh Province, where Mosul is located.

“The terrorists have used every possible wicked way to inflict casualties on civilians,” Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Ján Kubiš said.

According to information verified by the High Commissioner’s Office (OHCHR) and the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), at least 307 people were killed in the war-stricken city between February 17 and March 22. Also, between March 23 and 26, around 95 civilians were killed in Mosul neighborhoods, the UN added, citing reports. It is not yet clear if the UN included the casualties from the March 17 incident in the death toll.

FARSNEWS2017/4/3
Russia: US Concealing ISIL Crimes in Iraq’s Mosul
TEHRAN (FNA)- Russia accused Washington of covering up the ISIL terrorist group’s concealing in the Iraqi city of Mosul, where a US airstrike last month killed hundreds of civilians.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov made the comments, days after US military spokesman Joseph Scrocca said there was a video showing ISIL trying to bait US into killing civilians in Mosul, Yemen Extra reported.

However, the footage is yet to be shown.

“What motives is the US command driven by when they hide the war crimes of terrorists from the international community behind the veil of secrecy?” Konashenkov said.

“Why does the US-led … coalition, with this information, using their ‘smart bombs’ still carry out airstrikes on buildings with civilians?” he added.

On March 17, the US bombed a building in Mosul’s Western al-Jadida district, where Iraqi forces are fighting against militants. More than 200 civilians, including women and children, are believed to have been killed as a result of the aerial attack which caused the building to collapse.

The Pentagon acknowledged in a statement that the US had carried out the deadly attack. However, the US military is said to be conducting an investigation into whether it was US ammunition , Daesh explosives or both that caused the building to collapse.

Elsewhere in his comments, Konashenkov said Washington was looking for justifying mass civilian victims of its bombing campaign.

“The Pentagon’s absurd statements justifying mass civilian causalities of US bombing in Iraq tell more words about the real level of planning operations and alleged superiority of the US ‘smart bombs,’” he said.

Konashenkov focused on a crucial difference between US attacks in Mosul and Moscow’s counter-terrorism mission in Aleppo, saying Russia did not use its air force in the freedom of the Syrian city.

“The Russian Aerospace Forces were not used in Aleppo at all. The attention was focused on the work of humanitarian corridors as well as delivering and providing humanitarian aid for local residents,” he said.

“In Mosul, according to … Scrocca, despite civilian casualties, the coalition is not going to retreat even when fighting becomes heavy,” Konashenkov added.

The US campaign against purported terrorist aims inside Syria and Iraq, which began in 2014, has left many local residents dead without any meaningful achievement.

Earlier this week, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov cast doubt on the sincerity of the US coalition’s anti-terror campaign in Syria.

“One year into the creation of this coalition in 2014, it was very sporadically using the air force to hit some ISIL positions. They never touched the caravans who were smuggling oil from Syria to Turkey and, in general, they were not really very active,” he said.

“This suspicion is still very much alive these days, when Jabhat al-Nusra (also known as Fatah al-Sham Front) already twice changed its name, but it never changed its sponsors who continue to pump money and whatever is necessary for fighting into this structure,” he added.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 02:27| Comment(0) | 国際・政治
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