Saturday, July 01, 2017

The Mosul Slog hits day 251

Nehal Mostafa (IRAQI NEWS) reports, "More districts in western Mosul’s Old City have been liberated on Saturday from Islamic State militants, the Nineveh Operations Command declared."

So the news?

Day 251 of The Mosul Slog wraps up with the slog continuing.

Meanwhile, Friday the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesperson Rupert Colville noted:

We are extremely concerned at the situation of civilians in Mosul where fighting is becoming ever more intense and concentrated as Iraqi Security Forces, supported by the international coalition, push to retake the whole of the city from ISIL. We remind all parties to the conflict that they must abide by the principles of humanity, distinction, proportionality and precaution in carrying out military operations.
As Mosul is increasingly liberated from ISIL, we are seeing an alarming rise in threats, specifically of forced evictions, against those suspected of being ISIL members or whose relatives are alleged to be involved with ISIL – threats that have also been made in other areas.
We have received reports of so-called night letters left at families’ houses or distributed in neighbourhoods, including in Sharqat in Salahadin Governorate, Al Heet City in Al Anbar and Al-Qayyarah in Ninewa Governorate, as well as in Mosul City. These letters typically warn people to leave by a particular date or face forced expulsion. Many of these threats are the result of tribal agreements that explicitly demand that families of affiliated ISIL members be excluded from the area.
Hundreds of families have been threatened with forced displacement and such developments are extremely worrying. People are at real risk of forced eviction from their homes and losing access to basic necessities, including adequate housing, food, access to health services and education.
Illegal forced evictions and forcible displacement may amount to collective punishment and are in clear contravention of the Iraqi Constitution, international human rights and international humanitarian law. Criminal liability is strictly personal to the individual involved in the commission of the crime for which she or he has been convicted by a court of law, according to the facts.  In no way can responsibility for crimes be transferred to any another innocent person.
We urge the Iraqi Government to take action to halt such imminent evictions or any type of collective punishment, and to reinforce the formal justice system to bring perpetrators to justice. Illegal forced evictions are acts of vengeance that are detrimental to national reconciliation and social cohesion.

The Mosul Slog hasn't resulted in much to dub 'success' and the treatment described above only adds to the shame.

Today the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq posted the following on FACEBOOK:

UN Casualty Figures for Iraq for the Month of June 2017
Baghdad, Iraq, 01 July 2017 – A total of 415 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 300 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in June 2017*, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).
The number of civilians killed in June (not including police) was 411, while the number of injured (not including police) was 294.
Of those figures, Ninewa was the worst affected Governorate, with 382 civilian casualties (289 killed, 93 injured). Baghdad Governorate followed with 22 killed and 88 injured, Salahadin Governorate had 31 killed and 34 injured, and Babil had 24 killed and 26 injured.
According to information obtained by UNAMI from the Health Directorate in Anbar, the Governorate suffered a total of 54 civilian casualties (20 killed and 34 injured). Figures are updated until 30 June, inclusive.
The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Ján Kubiš, renewed his call for the protection of civilians in conflict. He condemned Daesh’s continued deliberate targeting of civilians seeking to escape from the last remaining areas under the control of the terrorist group in Mosul and attacks against civilians elsewhere in the country, including a bombing in Babel Governorate during the holy month of Ramadan.
“We are seeing the end of Daesh in Mosul as Iraqi forces closed in on the terrorists in the city’s old quarters, but there are civilians who remain trapped in the area or are held as human shields by the terrorists. The well-being of civilians is a matter of extreme concern for us.”
Mr. Kubiš noted that three journalists, including two foreigners, were killed and a foreign journalist injured while covering the battle in Mosul in June. “They were brave professionals who lost their lives or were injured in the pursuit of their work to highlight the plight of civilians and Iraq’s fight against the terrorists.”
*CAVEATS: In general, UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas. Figures for casualties from Anbar Governorate are provided by the Health Directorate and are noted in the June casualty report. Casualty figures obtained from the Anbar Health Directorate might not fully reflect the real number of casualties in those areas due to the increased volatility of the situation on the ground and the disruption of services. In some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. UNAMI has also received, without being able to verify, reports of large numbers of casualties along with unknown numbers of persons who have died from secondary effects of violence after having fled their homes due to exposure to the elements, lack of water, food, medicines and health care. Since the start of the military operations to retake Mosul and other areas in Ninewa, UNAMI has received several reports of incidents involving civilian casualties, which at times it has been unable to verify. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.
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