The United Nations has expressed deep concerns over reports that more than 200 people lost their lives in two airstrikes by the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul earlier this week.
“The United Nations is profoundly concerned by the reports yesterday of a high number of civilian casualties in al-Jadida in Iraq, a densely populated neighborhood in Mosul. Initial reports indicate hundreds of casualties,” Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN Secretary General, told a press conference on Friday.
Haq added that Lise Grande, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, is “stunned by the horrendous loss of life” in the aerial attacks.
Grande urged all parties to the operation in the embattled western Mosul, where Iraqi troops backed by pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units – commonly known by their Arabic name, Hashd al-Sha’abi – are pushing hard to flush out Daesh terrorists, to refrain from “indiscriminate use of firepower” and “do everything possible to protect civilians.”
Iraq's Kurdish-language Rudaw television network reported late on Thursday that 237 people had been killed in US-led coalition airstrikes on a Daesh-held neighborhood in western Mosul.
The report said 137 people died when a bomb hit a single building in Mosul al-Jadida district of western Mosul. Another 100 were killed nearby.
“Some of the dead were taking shelter inside the homes,” Hevidar Ahmed, a correspondent for Rudaw, said from the scene.
The video footage released in the aftermath of the airstrike shows scores of dead bodies being pulled up from a completely destroyed building.
The US-led coalition is said to have “opened a formal civilian casualty credibility assessment” on the report.
The latest US-led raids in Iraq have heightened concerns about an increase in civilian casualties since the administration of US President Donald Trump has already “sped up” the process of approving airstrikes.
Airwars, a Britain-based organization that monitors purported US-led strikes on Daesh positions, estimates that as many as 400 civilian deaths could be attributed to the aerial assaults in March alone.
Iraqi army soldiers and Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters launched their offensive to retake Mosul last October and since then they have made sweeping gains against Takfiri elements.
Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul back in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.