Civilian casualties rise as fight for Mosul intensifies

The battle has entered the densely-populated districts of the Old City, rendering escape from Daesh-held areas increasingly difficult for civilians.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

The UN rights chief said earlier this week at least 307 civilians had been killed and 273 wounded in western Mosul since February 17.

Thousands of residents have fled from western Mosul as Iraq-led coalition forces backed by US air strikes advance into Daesh-held parts of the Old City.

But tens of thousands of civilians are still trapped in their homes as fighting, shelling and air strikes continue.

With the battle entering the densely-populated areas of the Old City, fleeing is becoming increasingly risky for civilians.

The UN rights chief said earlier this week that at least 307 civilians had been killed and 273 wounded in western Mosul since February 17.

He said Daesh militants are herding residents into booby-trapped buildings and using them as human shields, while those caught trying to flee are shot dead.

Camps have been set up around the city to provide shelter for the displaced.

At least 355,000 residents have fled fighting, according to the government, and some 400,000 civilians remain trapped inside the Old City.

Iraqi forces backed by US air strikes launched the operation to retake Mosul in October, retaking its east side in January before setting their sights on the smaller but more densely-populated west.

TRT World 's Ben Said has more.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies