Iraq War Report: April
More Civilian Casualties in Mosul
An Iraqi airstrike targeted a group of Daesh terrorists preparing a VBIED in Zanjilli neighborhood and 13 of them were killed. Another airstrike destroyed a Daesh vehicle and 3 occupants in Tamuz neighborhood.
In one day, more than 65 civilians were killed by US coalition airstrikes in the Zanjilli neighborhood.
Daesh targeted civilians after the Friday prayers with a rocket attack at the Sadiq Rashan mosque in Al Muthanah neighborhood, killing one civilian and injuring 5 others.
Clashes continue around Mosul city and Deash claimed that it had destroyed more than 3 armored vehicles of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).
They also claimed to have killed another 15 Iraqi fighters near Al Rehaniah town west of Mosul and that one of their IED’s hit another PMU armored vehicle on the Baduish-Tal-Afar highway, killing and injuring some of its crew.
In the Salah Al Deen area Iraqi forces shot down another ISIS drone.
In the past 24 hours, PMU forces evacuating 1,500 civilians from western Mosul into a refugee camp in Hamam Al Aliel. They also distributed humanitarian aid to more than 1200 displaced families around Mosul.
About 100,000 civilians remain under the siege in the Daesh-held western part of Mosul.
US Tactic: Kill Civilians, Blame Daesh
The US was accused civilian killings because of the relaxed Rules of Engagement (ROE) during questioning in the House Armed Services Committee hearing, but the US Representative strongly rejected it and blamed Daesh.
The CENTCOM Commander said that the previous administration’s overly restrictive targeting rules strengthened Daesh, causing more civilian deaths and pointed out that Daesh is violating the laws of armed conflict by killing civilians and using them as human shields.
He said: “If we allow more terrorists to live to fight another day because of this policy, then we are actually opening up the opportunity for more civilians to be killed by these terrorists.”
Hence, the US is concerned that additional restrictions could lead to more civilian deaths.
Trump: US Troops 'Fighting Like Never Before’
At a reception for al US senators, President Trump said: "We're doing very well in Iraq, and our soldiers are fighting like never before in Iraq,” praising the positive trajectory in the country.
Yet everyone is under the impression that US combat mission in Iraq ended in 2010 and American troops are now in the country primarily to advise and assist Iraqi forces.
His remarks coincided with US military officials acknowledging that the US was likely behind an airstrike that killed hundreds of Iraqi civilians in Mosul two weeks ago but he did not personally acknowledge those deaths in his remarks, instead praising the work of the US military in Iraq.
He concluded: "The results are very, very good, and I just wanted to let everyone know."
Belgium Investigates Own Involvement in Deadly Strike
Belgium has started investigating if any of its jets were responsible for civilian casualties in the airstrike in Mosul that killed more than 200 civilians in the al-Jadida neighborhood two weeks ago.
Mosul’s municipality chief who was supervising the rescue said that 240 bodies had been pulled from the rubble.
The US military recently admitted that its air power could have been behind the deadly strike.
Both countries will investigate if the rules of engagement was violated and consider its review.
With these investigations underway, the US-led coalition consistently reminds the media that Daesh used civilians as human shields.
They must determine whether the civilians were forced into buildings before being struck or whether the terrorists destroyed the building themselves.
Continued reports indicate that hundreds of Mosul residents are being killed by airstrikes in their homes following repeated instructions from Iraqi authorities not to leave the safety of their residence.
US Bombs Civilians, Accuses Russia of the Same
A total of 1,500 tons of bombs were dropped on Mosul since the US-led coalition airstrikes began.
US commanders and officials repeatedly said that Mosul cannot be liberated without civilian casualties, yet, during the liberation of Syrian Aleppo, Russia’s military actions were criticized, even equating them to war crimes and genocide without supplying any facts or proofs.
No facts of civilian causalities from Russia’s military activities in Syria have been provided though.
Recently, the US envoy to the UN said: “Together with Russia and Iran, the Assad regime has destroyed each and every hospital in east Aleppo. A quarter-million people are left to suffer. These are war crimes."
Expectedly, she praised US actions and called the United States the "moral conscience" of the world.
US diplomacy again resorted to a tactic Washington has been using since the beginning of the Russia military campaign in Syria: "Civilian deaths from US airstrikes are accidental while Russia deliberately bombs civilians."
Iraqi Kurdistan Independence Referendum Looming
In a meeting with the UN Secretary General, the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), announced preparations for a referendum on independence of the region from Iraq
In response, the Iraqi Prime Minister said: “Separation of Kurdistan from Iraq does not meet the interests of Kurds.”
Not only Iraq, but also in Iran, Turkey and Syria, resides a large number of Kurds who oppose the sovereignty aspiration of Erbil as the administrative center of Iraqi Kurdistan.
One fifth of Iraqis are Kurds and they have the status of an autonomous region Iraq proscribed in the Iraqi constitution. If they voted for independence they may be followed by 17 million Turkish Kurds and millions more in Iran and Syria.