The US-led coalition fighting to retake Mosul says it takes every precaution to assure civilians are not harmed in its airstrikes on Islamic State militants, but those who have lost family members in coalition attacks doubt the veracity of that claim.
“Daesh [Islamic State, IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] go on the rooftops of the houses and the families don’t know, then the aircraft come and bomb it,” Mosul resident Ibrahim Rfaee told RT’s Ruptly, referring to the terrorist group by its derogative Arabic acronym.
Ibrahim’s grandmother, Khalas, was killed last week, apparently by an IS sniper, as she was trying to escape from Mosul’s jihadist-controlled Tal Alruman neighborhood into Mahmoun, which had already been seized by Iraqi special forces. RT’s sister video agency caught up with Ibrahim and his family on Sunday as they were burying Khalas at a local cemetery.
Ibrahim said the coalition is not as precise and careful in targeting its airstrikes as it claims to be in media conferences.
“We are asking for bombing specific targets. There are still families inside the houses and the aircraft keep bombing. We are asking the coalition planes to be specific when they bomb. They were bombing randomly,” he said.
Similar reports have been coming from other media outlets. The Daily Telegraph reported from the Samood neighborhood that an airstrike apparently targeting a single IS fighter had killed a dozen civilians instead, according to witnesses.
“The planes waited until one of the Daesh walked out into the street and then they struck. The fighter was only injured, but 11 members of one family in the house next door were instantly killed,” a resident named Hashem Abdullah told the British newspaper.
“They dropped leaflets over the city telling us not to worry about the strikes, saying that they were extremely precise and would not hurt the civilians,” said Yusuf Ahmed, who lost his brother and his young family to a coalition airstrike. “Now it feels like the coalition is killing more people than [Islamic State],” he said.
The Iraqi army says it has captured about a third of the western part of Mosul. The UN estimates that 5,000 people on average have been fleeing the city every day since the siege intensified in February.
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