Tuesday, 25 April 2017
Does anyone care about Mosul?
Donald Trump says he was motivated by the death of “beautiful babies” in a chemical gas attack in Syria to launch a missile strike on a regime airbase, which incidentally also killed at least four children. But in fact, Trump’s aerial bombardment in the region is responsible for scores of civilian deaths, including children, on a nightly basis, as coalition aircraft pound targets in northeastern Syria and around the city of Mosul in Iraq.
Mosul is a city similar in population size to Birmingham. It was overrun by Isis a couple of years ago after the Iraqi army fled in the face of an Isis attack, leaving large amounts of weaponry to fall into the group’s hands. Since then, Mosul has been at the mercy of this ruthless death cult, whose crimes against civilians have been unspeakable. Those who have tried to escape the city -often in small fragile boats across a river in spate - have been shot dead. Despite this danger, some 300,000 residents have fled, creating a major humanitarian crisis which worsens by the week.
For more than six months, the Iraqi army, reinforced by aerial bombing by coalition aircraft, have attempted to liberate the city. The process is agonisingly slow: Isis are determined to fight to the death, with many of their militants permanently wearing the equipment of suicide bombers and others often mutilated or worse for not fighting with sufficient zeal.
The reluctance of US and other western forces to risk the lives of their own troops impels them to resort to increasingly reckless aerial bombardment of the city. Even before Trump took over, journalists at Airwars, a site that highlights media reports of civilian casualties, began to register a huge increase in civilian fatalities in Mosul. With the exception of one incident, where over 200 civilians may have died in one attack, hardly any of this has been reported in the western media. To give just a flavour of Airwars reportage for two weeks earlier this month:
(April 6th): Local sources said that a mother and her two children were killed in an airstrike on her house in Zanjili neighbourhood, in West Mosul.
(April 7th): Local sources, in what was possibly based on an Al Amaq [ISIL press agency] statement, reported that 22 civilians were killed and 42 injured in Coalition and Iraqi government airstrikes on Farouk, Zinjili and Isilah Zeraei (Agricultural Reforrm) neighbourhoods in West Mosul. Local sources reported that one civilian was killed and eight others were injured in airstrikes on Al Saha neighborhood in West Mosul.
(April 8th): Local sources said that three named family members were killed and their daughter injured on the morning of April 8th, after an airstrike reportedly struck their house in West Mosul. Local sources, possibly referring to a statement originating with Al Amaq [ISIL’s media wing], said that that 13 civilians were killed and 91 were injured – mostly children and women – in shelling and bombing by the Coalition and Iraqi forces on several neighborhoods in West Mosul.
(April 9th): Two local sources said that an unspecified number of civilians were killed and injured due to airstrikes and missile attacks on Zanjili neighborhood in West Mosul. Local sources said that heavy airstrikes and artillery shelling hit Rifai and 17 July neighbourhoods in West Mosul, killing and injuring an unspecified number of civilians. A single source – the local Facebook group of the Jarjria tribe – said that a son of the family of Muhammad Daham Murad al-Jarjari from the village of Jasa was killed in an airstrike on Yarmouk neighbourhood in West Mosul.
(April 10th): Local sources said that three named civilians were killed including a child, after an airstrike struck their house in Sekak neighborhood in West Mosul. Local sources reported a major incident in Yarmouk neighbourhood, West Mosul, where airstrikes allegedly killed more than thirty civilians.
(April 11th): A single local source reported that over thirty civilians, including women and children, were killed in Coalition airstrikes on al-Saha and al-Sham neighborhoods in West Mosul. A single source reported that two people were killed and nine others were injured due to unidentified shelling on Al-Resala neighborhood in West Mosul. Local sources reported that 13 civilians from two families were killed and 17 others injured in Coalition airstrikes on houses in Yarmouk neighbourhood, which had been liberated by Iraqi forces the previous day. Local sources said that nine people from the same family died in an unspecified airstrike on their house in Al-Farouk Street, in Farouk neighbourhood in West Mosul, at midnight.
(April 12th): Akbar Elyam News, quoting Lt. Col. Ahmed Abdul-Aziz Al-Nu’mani of Iraqi forces, reported that violent Coalition airstrikes hit the old part of Mosul, particularly the neighbourhoods of the Grand Mosque, Farouk, Clock and the center of Mosul, in the evening into the night of April 12th. Sawlf Ateka (local Facebook group) reported moreover that five civilians died in the Grand Mosque neighbourhood at 11 PM, when a missile hit their house. (April 13th): Multiple local sources reported that Coalition airstrikes as well as raids carried out by Iraqi government forces led to the deaths of dozens of civilians, and left up to 181 people injured.
(April 14th): Two local sources reported that seven civilians from one family died when an airstrike or bombardment hit their house in Ras Al Jadda neighbourhood in the old part of Mosul.
(April 15th): Local residents told the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights that 42 members of the well-known family of Ghanim Sobhiya died after an airstrike hit their 16-room house in Bab-Sinjar neighbourhood in the old part of Mosul, at dawn on April 15th. Local sources reported that at least eight civilians died after two missiles consecutively hit a two-floor house in Isilah Zeraei neighbourhood in West Mosul. Sources reported a similar incident hours earlier in the same neighbourhood, with casualty numbers so far unknown.
(April 17th): Local sources reported that Coalition and Iraqi government warplanes carried out airstrikes on Zanjili and other neighbourhoods in West Mosul, killing and wounding dozens.
Iraqyoon and Yaqein spoke of more than 100 dead and wounded in the various western neighbourhoods of the city. Local sources reported violent airstrikes on Al-Thawra (Revolution) neighbourhood in the old town area of Mosul city, on Monday 17th of April. Two victims were named.
(April 18th): Local sources reported that heavy airstrikes hit several neighbourhoods in Old Mosul on Tuesday, leading to dozens of civilians killed and injured. Local sources reported that ‘US airstrikes’ hit the entrance of the emergency department of the Republican Hospital at the Medical Complex of West Mosul. Civilians killed: 7.
(April 19th): Local press sources reported that 51 civilians were killed and 55 injured in airstrikes of the international Coalition and Iraqi government forces on several neighborhoods in West Mosul. Local press sources and relatives reported that four members of the Al-Fakhri family died after Coalition airstrikes hit their house in Old Mosul. A single local source reported that Abdel Wahab Talal Hadidi and his father died after an airstrike was carried out in front of their house, in Al Thawra (Revolution) neighbourhood in Old Mosul.
(April 20th): Local sources reported that airstrikes of the Coalition and the Iraqi airforce on several neighbourhoods in Old Mosul, as well as artillery shelling, lead to the death of 18 civilians.
Looking through the events listings on the Stop the War website, there are virtually no meetings about these terrible events, nor, sadly, any commemoration of the 14th anniversary of the illegal and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq. If we fail to protest against such unconscionable attacks on civilians, who are we to criticise the media silence? And if we do not protest, are not our enemies emboldened to carry on their murderous bombardment with impunity?
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