Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Mosul Slog

The Mosul Slog continues on day 131.

Professor Vijay Prashad (GLOBAL RESEARCH) reports:

“Everyone seems to be dying of cancer. Every day one hears about another acquaintance or friend of a friend dying.”
On Monday, February 20, US-led coalition fighter jets bombed al-Shefaa, a residential area in eastern Mosul (Iraq). Sources from a variety of perspectives say that several dozen civilians died in the raid and a large number were wounded. The highest numbers are being quoted by the Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency, while the lower numbers come from al-Jazeera. The coalition commanders have not answered questions about the raids.

According to Airwars, a large number of civilians have been killed due to US-led coalition bombings that began in 2014. The total civilians killed range from 5,875 to 7,936, while those specifically killed by coalition airstrikes number between 2,405 and 3,517. These are twice the number of civilians as killed by Russian airstrikes in Syria, according to Airwars figures.
The Iraqi military confirms that it has slowed down its advance into Mosul because it does not know how to fight ISIS without endangering the 750,000 civilians in the region. The most recent UN situation report from Iraq counts 160,000 people already displaced as a result of the Mosul crisis. Low income levels, shortages of water, great threats because of the fighting – these define the situation for residents in and around Mosul.

The Mosul slog is over four months old.

And it's still not completed.

It's still hard to find any success in the mission as well.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees notes:

161,730 persons currently internally displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since military operations to retake the city resumed on 17 October 2016 (1)
21,285 UNHCR kits of core relief items (CRIs) distributed to families in camps, assisting some 126,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Mosul and surrounding areas
5,481 family plots are currently occupied out of 12,497 family plots (for some 66,000 people) in UNHCR built camps that are ready to receive IDPs displaced from Mosul corridor.
3 million IDPs since January 2014 (2)
246,649 Iraqi refugees hosted by neighbouring countries in the region, and
12,869 Iraqis received in Al Hol camp in Syria since 17 October 2016IOM-DTM Emergency Tracking since 17

Among today's deaths, Kurdish journalist Shifa Zikri Ibrahim who worked for RUDAW.

  1. who was killed by a roadside bomb 2day in ,rescued a wounded rabbit in a village south of of the city as she was reporting
  2. : Prominent Rudaw war reporter and journalist Shifa Gardi has been killed in as she covered clashes.

RUDAW notes:

Statement from Rudaw Media Network
Rudaw’s segment presenter, chief of output, and wartime journalist was killed on Saturday in a roadside bomb explosion in Mosul, while covering war developments of the renewed offensive to liberate the right bank of the last major urban stronghold still held by ISIS in Iraq. Her camera man was also wounded.
Shifa Gardi was one of Rudaw’s most daring journalists. She was known as a renowned skilled journalist in Kurdish news media, and brought outstanding coverage to Rudaw TV right from the beginning of its establishment.
She was a segment presenter in Rudaw, covering Focus Mosul program which she started to run when the operation to drive ISIS from Iraq was launched in October 2016.
Rudaw is deeply saddened to pronounce the death of its courageous wartime journalist and media star in the Kurdistan Region.
In the name of Rudaw Media Network, we convey our most sincere and most profound condolences to the family and friends of Ms Gardi and to our team worldwide, and we wish a speedy recovery to the wounded Rudaw journalist Yunis Mustafa. 

Rudaw Media Network, February 25, 2017

“We lost a very talented person. Shifa was not only a smart journalist, but also a very serious and loyal person," Rudaw Executive Director Ako Mohamm told a crowd of Gardi's colleagues and ordinary people gahered to pay respect to her body outside the network's headquarters.

"She greatly contributed to the establishment of Rudaw Media Network. She was one of the very dedicated employees. She was an example of dedication,” Ako continued.

Ako said that the network has always instructed its journalists "to be behind the frontlines of the war".

“We were always urging them to be behind the frontlines of the war, telling them that they were not soldiers or Peshmerga fighters. Rather, you are journalists. Hence, you shouldn’t be on the frontlines. It appears that Shifa had moved closer to the frontlines out of seriousness to her job. We are saddened by the passing of Shifa. Her place will remain irreplaceable in Rudaw, but she will always stay in our hearts.” 

Gardi and her team were on a mission to investigate a mass grave where it was alleged that ISIS militants had killed and buried hundreds of civilians in Mosul.

Gardi searched for a long time to find the mass grave without much success, Rudaw’s Ranja Jamal said

Jamal and his team were in close distance to Gardi’s.

Jamal said the Rudaw team came across an armed unit of Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitaries on the Mosul-Baghdad road, who told Gardi that they knew the whereabouts of the mass grave.

Rudaw’s team were trying to film the mass grave as the roadside bomb exploded near the site of the mass grave, and killed Gardi, and another five members of the paramilitary force, including a commander, Jamal said, another 8 people, including Rudaw’s cameraman Yunis Mustafa were injured.

Mustafa was airlifted to Erbil, and was then transferred to a hospital in the city where he is receiving treatment. His injuries are said to be not life-threatening. 

People and Rudaw staff lit candles in Sulaimani to pay tribute to her reporting of the largest military operation in Iraq since the country's invasion in 2003.

A Peshmerga fighter from Duhok named his newborn baby girl after Shifa, following news of her death.

Kurdish president Masoud Barzani said that it was sad to hear the death of  a "role model" for women and youth as she was doing her journalistic work. 

“It was very saddening to hear news of the death of journalist Ms Shifa Gardi, who was killed in the city of Mosul on February 25, 2017 while executing her journalistic work," President Barzani said.

"Her death reiterates the role, position, sacrifice and resilience of women and proud youth of Kurdistan’s nation. On this sad occasion, I direct my condolences to the family of Ms Gardi, her colleagues at Rudaw Media Network and Kurdistan’s journalists as a whole. May she rest in peace,” President Barzani's statement added.

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said in a statement that Gardi was a "a free, brave and successful journalist," whose "continued desire for progress and success" will be pursued by "many women in Kurdistan".

“The martyred journalist, Ms Shifa Gardi, was born in diaspora into a Peshmerga and dedicated Kurdish family," PM Barzani said.

"She was a free, brave and successful journalist who was loved and respected by her viewers. She was martyred while broadcasting her message, a message of dedication to her duty. We are certain that her colleagues will continue carrying her message and will always remember her, and many women in Kurdistan will pursue her path of continued desire for progress and success, her path of courage, dedication and love to duty,”  PM Barzani continued. . 

  1. Deeply saddened by journalist ’s death by roadside bomb in .Young, courageous professional killed performing her job

CJR issued the following:

New York, February 25, 2017--Iraqi Kurdish reporter Shifa Zikri Ibrahim, known professionally as Shifa Gardi, was killed today by a roadside bomb while covering the Iraqi Army's offensive against the Islamic State group in western Mosul for the Kurdish TV station Rudaw, the network said. A cameraman for the network, Younis Mustafa, was also injured in the bombing.

"Shifa Gardi's tragic death underscores the continuing risk that journalists in Iraq face while doing their jobs," CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said. "Journalists covering Iraq, and particularly those covering the ongoing conflict between the Iraqi government and the Islamic State group, have shown remarkable bravery and commitment to their work, and all sides in the conflict should honor that commitment by ensuring that they can do their jobs safely."

More journalists have been killed in Iraq than in any other country since CPJ first began keeping records in 1992. The death of Gardi is Iraq's first recorded case of a journalist's killing in 2017. Last year, at least six journalists were confirmed killed in Iraq. Some of those deaths were the result of covering conflicts involving the Islamic State group, while others were targeted by unidentified assailants.

And we'll note some Tweets.

  1. ITV News correspondent pays tribute to slain journalist Shifa Gardi, who he trained in Iraq
  2. reporter and anchor , described as brave, role model for women killed by roadside bomb in
  3. Rest In Peace , a courageous Kurdish journalist who was killed by a roadside bomb in Mosul. My condolences to the family.

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