The recent deaths of more than 150 civilians in airstrikes in Mosul was the result of US military action.
The US has accepted responsibility but has not confirmed there were civilian casualties. Amnesty International reports a significant rise in civilian casualties since eastern Mosul was taken by the Iraqi army.
Reports suggest residents were told not to leave their homes before airstrikes began. Such a casual attitude to civilian casualties was sadly very likely from the outset of operations in Mosul. Amnesty points to evidence of “an alarming pattern of US-led coalition airstrikes [in Mosul] which have destroyed whole houses with entire families inside”. There has also been a complete lack of centrally-coordinated rescue efforts.
Mosul’s local authorities say that the fighting prevents them from conducting rescue operations. But a lack of resources and corruption in their allocation is also causing civilian suffering.
Western Mosul is more densely populated and a much older part of the city. The streets are narrow and the buildings far older. This has been factored into decisions by the US and Iraqi military to use more artillery and rely more heavily on airstrikes. The Iraqi army say they are concerned about large scale displacement and that is why they have asked residents to stay in their homes. 400,000 people now remain in Mosul, vulnerable to these military attacks.