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Iraq: New reports place Mosul civilian death toll at more than ten times official estimates

    December 20, 2017

    Responding to reports made by the Associated Press that between 9000 to 11000 civilians have been killed in the battle for Mosul, Lynn Maalouf, Head of Research for Amnesty International in the Middle East said:

    “We are horrified, but not surprised, by these new figures. These numbers are directly in line with our previous findings that thousands of civilians were killed during the battle for Mosul - and that these deaths were caused not only by the so-called Islamic State group, but also by Iraqi and coalition forces. The AP’s estimate is more than ten times the figures reported by coalition forces, who have claimed responsibility for only 326 deaths. 

    “The failure of Iraqi and coalition forces to acknowledge and investigate civilian deaths in Mosul is a blatant abdication of responsibility. We are demanding transparency and an honest public account of the true cost to civilians from this war, as well as an immediate investigation by US-led coalition and Iraqi forces into the violations and unlawful attacks documented by Amnesty International and other independent groups during the battle for Mosul.

    Many of these newly reported deaths were as a direct result of civilians being killed or crushed under buildings damaged in attacks by the coalition and Iraqi government forces that were disproportionate or otherwise indiscriminate. The US-led coalition and Iraqi forces failed to take into account the reality on the ground. If these forces had fully complied with their obligation to take necessary precautions to minimize civilian harm, some of the extensive destruction and loss of civilian life could have been avoided.”

    Background

    In July 2017, Amnesty International released At Any Cost: The Civilian Catastrophe in West Mosul, Iraq, which covered violations committed by all parties to the conflict in west Mosul.

    In the report, Amnesty International called on the US-led coalition and the Iraqi government to publicly acknowledge the scale and gravity of the loss of civilian lives during the Mosul battle, to highlight the need for reparation to victims and families of victims of violations, and to immediately cease the use of explosive weapons in densely populated civilian areas.