Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Civilians represent 47 percent of casualties resulting from Iraqi security forces battles to recapture the city of Mosul from Islamic State extremists, the United Nations said late Wednesday as Iraqi forces struggle to clear the eastern area of the city from militants.
“You would expect in a conflict like this that the number of civilian casualties would be around 15 per cent, a high of 20 per cent.What we’re seeing in Mosul is that nearly 50 per cent of all casualties are in fact civilians,” said Lise Grande, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, told UN reporters.“It’s clear that this is because of direct targeting by combatants.They’re being targeted by ISIL.They’re being shot as they try and leave the city and they’re being shot as they try and secure food and other resources,” she explained.The number of Iraqis stranded in Islamic State-held areas in western Mosul stands at 750.000,Some 400,000 are now free of control by the IS, Grande said.
She, however, praised the Iraqi forces for taking the humanitarian aspect into consideration during the battles.
“One of the exceptional aspects of the Mosul military operation was the decision by the Iraqi security forces to adopt a humanitarian concept of operations when they were developing their battle plans,” said Ms.Grande.
Iraqi security forces have recently reached the eastern bank of the Tigris River and are believed to control at least 70 percent of the eastern part of Mosul.IS still maintain strongholds in the west.
Since operations launched in October 2016, 173.000 left homes in Mosul and Kirkuk to refugee camps, Iraq’s migration ministry said recently.