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UN warns of rise in civilian deaths in Mosul op
January 24, 2017, 6:14 pm

It’s been 100 days since Baghdad launched the campaign to recapture Mosul and although it has liberated the eastern part of the city, civilian casualties have been steadily rising [Xinhua]

The civilian death toll in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul is rising dramatically as the Iraqi army and its allies battle Islamic State remnants on the western bank of the city.

Islamic State fighters have been targeting escaping civilians as they retreat but UN spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said that air raids against the extremists have also killed many civilians.

“We have been receiving quite a lot of reports of civilian casualties caused by air strikes,” Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the UN human rights office, told a regular news briefing in Geneva, according to Reuters.

The dire announcement comes as the Iraqi army completes 100 days since it launched a campaign to extricate the Islamic State from Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

She said that credible corroboration indicates that civilians are being killed in air raids, however, she added that Islamic state fighters have been known to herd civilians into houses or hold them hostage, possibly as human shields.

Houses known to be occupied by ISIL fighters are targeted by Iraqi air force and coalition fighter bombers.

According to the UN and relief agencies, some 180,000 civilians have left Mosul and are now in refugee camps. The UN estimates that 750,000 civilians are trapped in the western part of the city, divided by the River Tigris.

Other families have chosen to return to their homes in the recaptured and liberated sectors of eastern Mosul.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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