By John Lee.

Amnesty International has challenged a statement from the US-led Coalition in which it acknowledges at least 1,302 unintended civilian deaths during Operation Inherent Resolve.

The organisation’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, Donatella Rovera, said:

While all admissions of responsibility by the US-led Coalition for civilian casualties are welcome, the Coalition remains deeply in denial about the devastating scale of the civilian casualties caused by their operations in both Iraq and Syria.

“A comprehensive investigation by Amnesty International in partnership with Airwars, launched last month, revealed that more than 1,600 civilians were killed in the Raqqa offensive alone in 2017 – meaning the acknowledged deaths are just a fraction of the total numbers killed.

“Today’s acknowledgement of further civilian deaths underscores the urgent need for thorough, independent investigations that can uncover the true scale of civilian casualties caused by Coalition strikes, examine whether each attack complied with international humanitarian law and provide full reparation to victims.

“Even in cases where the Coalition has admitted responsibility this has only happened after civilian deaths were investigated and brought to its attention by organizations such as Amnesty International and Airwars. The Coalition has so far failed to carry out investigations on the ground or provide reasons for the civilian casualties. Without a clear examination of what went wrong in each case lessons can never be learned.

The full statement from Operation Inherent Resolve is shown below:

Since the beginning of operations in 2014, the Coalition and partner forces have liberated nearly 110,000 square kilometers (42,471 square miles) from Daesh, eliminating their self-proclaimed territorial caliphate and freeing 7.7 million people from Daesh oppression. The Coalition will continue to work with partner forces to deny Daesh any physical space and influence in the region as well as deny Daesh the resources they need to resurge.

The Coalition continues to employ thorough and deliberate targeting and strike processes to minimize the impact of operations on civilian populations and infrastructure. This process includes thorough review and vetting of each target package prior to a strike and another review after that strike. Regular strike reports make Coalition activities publicly accessible, and monthly publication of civilian casualty reports makes civilian casualty assessments similarly accessible to the public.

As demonstrated, the Coalition is willing to consider new civilian casualty allegations as well as new or  compelling evidence on past allegations to establish accountability based on the best available evidence.

The Coalition conducted 34,502 strikes between August 2014 and the end of April 2019. During this period, based on information available, CJTF-OIR assesses at least 1,302* civilians have been unintentionally killed by Coalition strikes since the beginning of Operation Inherent Resolve. This report includes three credible reports that had not been previously reported in monthly CIVCAS releases.

In the month of April, CJTF-OIR carried over 122 open reports from previous months and received seven new reports. CJTF-OIR completed 18 civilian-casualty allegation assessment reports. Out of the 18 completed casualty allegation reports, three reports were determined to be credible and resulted in five unintentional civilian deaths. The remaining 15 reports were assessed to be non-credible. One hundred and eleven reports are still open, including three that had been previously closed but were reopened due to the availability of new information.

Credible Reports–In the three incidents assessed in April and the three previously unreported incidents, the investigations assessed that the Coalition took all feasible precautions, and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict. Coalition forces work diligently to be precise during the planning and execution of strikes to reduce the risk of harm to civilians.

Apr. 9, 2016, near Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report. Coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike on a Daesh communication center in Mosul, Iraq. Regrettably, five civilians were unintentionally killed and nine others unintentionally wounded due to their proximity to the strike. (Not previously reported)
Jan. 17, 2017, near Idlib, Syria, via self-report. Coalition aircraft conducted a strike against a Daesh vehicle. Regrettably, three civilians were unintentionally wounded due to their proximity to the strike. (Not previously reported)
Mar. 27, 2017, near Idlib, Syria, via self-report. Coalition aircraft conducted a strike against a Daesh vehicle. Regrettably, three civilians were unintentionally killed and one civilian was injured due to their proximity to the strike. (Not previously reported)
Dec. 24, 2017, near Kharayij, Syria, via self-report. Coalition aircraft conducted strikes on a Daesh weapons storage facility and Daesh terrorists. Regrettably, three civilians were unintentionally killed due to the proximity of the strikes.
Aug. 1, 2018, near Ash Shajlah, Syria, via self-report. Coalition aircraft conducted a strike against a Daesh staging area. Regrettably, two civilians were unintentionally killed due to the proximity of the strike.
Mar. 10, 2019, near Qayyarah-West Airfield, Iraq, via media-report. Regrettably, one civilian was unintentionally injured by Coalition small arms fire.    Non Credible Reports– After a thorough review of the facts and circumstances of each civilian casualty report, CJTF-OIR assessed the following 15 reports as non-credible. At this time there is insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
Aug. 20, 2017, near al-Bado neighborhood, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of all available strike records it was determined that, more likely than not, civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.
Aug. 20, 2017, near al-Sakhani neighborhood, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of all available strike records it was determined that, more likely than not, civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.
Sept. 18, 2017, near al-Kahraba neighborhood, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of all available strike records it was determined that, more likely than not, civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.
Feb. 2, 2018, near al-Bahra, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of all available strike records it was determined that, more likely than not, civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.
May 31, 2018, near al-Susah, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of all available strike records it was determined that, more likely than not, civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.
July 22, 2018, near al-Susah, Syria, via social media report. After a review of all available strike records it was determined that, more likely than not, civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.
Aug. 23, 2018, near Abu Kamal, Syria, via self-report. After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area that corresponds to the report of civilian casualties.
Oct. 20, 2018, near al-Susah, Syria, via social media report. After a review of all available strike records it was determined that, more likely than not, civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.
Mar. 11, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via social media report. The report contains insufficient information of the time, location and details to assess its credibility.
Mar. 13, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via Airwars report. The report contains insufficient information of the time, location and details to assess its credibility.
Mar. 14, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via social media report. The report contains insufficient information of the time, location and details to assess its credibility.
Mar. 16, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via Airwars report. The report contains insufficient information of the time, location and details to assess its credibility.
Mar. 17, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via social media report. The report contains insufficient information of the time, location and details to assess its credibility.
Mar. 18, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via Airwars report. The report contains insufficient information of the time, location and details to assess its credibility.
Mar. 24, 2019, near al-Rutba, Syria, via Airwars report. The report contains insufficient information of the time, location and details to assess its credibility.
Open Reports– CJTF-OIR is still assessing 111 reports of civilian casualties:

Nov. 7, 2014, near Al-Tanak Oilfield, Syria, via Syrian Human Rights Network report.
Dec. 28, 2014, near Jarabulus, Syria, via Airwars report.
Aug. 24, 2015, near Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report.
Oct. 30, 2015, near Qayyarah, Iraq, via media report.
Nov. 7, 2015, near Qayyarah, Iraq, via media report.
Dec. 24, 2015, near Manbij, Syria, via self-report.
June 1, 2016, near Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report.
Sept. 22, 2016, near Qayyarah, Iraq, via media report.
Oct. 13, 2016, near Qayyarah, Iraq, via media report.
Jan. 3, 2017, near Sarmada, Syria, via social media report (previously closed, but reopened due to new information).
Jan. 6, 2017, near Taftanaz, Idlib, Syria, via Airwars report.
Jan. 11, 2017, near Saraqib, Idlib, Syria, via Airwars report.
Jan. 14, 2017, near Al Mayadin, Syria, via Airwars report.
Jan. 17, 2017, near Baysan neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq, via social media report (previously closed, but reopened due to new information).
Jan. 26, 2017, near Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report.
Feb. 3, 2017, near Sarmin, Idlib, Syria, via Airwars report.
Feb. 10, 2017, near Hatra, Iraq, via Airwars report.
Mar. 8, 2017, near Al Karamah, Syria via Airwars report.
Mar. 11, 2017, near Al Karamah, Syria, via Airwars report.
Mar. 23, 2017, near al-Yarmouk neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq, via self-report.
Mar. 25, 2017, near Al Mayadin, Syria, via Airwars report.
Mar. 27, 2017, near Sarmada, Idlib, via Airwars report.
Apr. 5, 2017, near al-Shafa neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report.
Apr. 7, 2017, near Hamra Ghanim, Syria, via Airwars report.
Apr. 11, 2017, near al-Yarmouk neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report.
Apr. 11, 2017, near al-Sahab neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report.
Apr. 19, 2017, near al-Thawra neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report.
Apr. 28, 2017, near al-Tabaqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
May 6, 2017, near Mayadin, Syria, via Airwars report.
May 9, 2017, near Abu Kamal, Syria, via Airwars report.
May 13, 2017, near Between two Bridges, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
May 28, 2017, near Al Mansoura, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 3, 2017, near Hawi al Hawa, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 3, 2017, near al Jisr al Qadim, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 4, 2017, near Abu al Naital, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 10, 2017 near Euphrates River, Syria via Amnesty International report.
June 12, 2017, near al-Tib al-Hadeeth area, Raqqah, Syria via Airwars report.
June 13, 2017 near Kasrat Sheikh Jum’ah Syria, via Airwars report.
June 17, 2017, near Hawijah al-Swafi, Raqqah, Syria via Airwars report.
June 18, 2017, near al-Firdous neighborhood, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 18, 2017, near al-Meshahda neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report.
June 21, 2017, near Amn al-Dawlah neighborhood, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 23, 2017, near al-Saa’a neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq via Airwars report.
June 23, 2017, near Abu Kamal, Syria via Airwars report (previously closed, but reopened due to new information).
June 24, 2017, near Adnan al-Maliki school, Raqqah, Syria via Airwars report.
June 26, 2017, near Al Mayadin, Syria via Airwars report.
June 26, 2017, near Euphrates River, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 27, 2017, near Euphrates River, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 30, 2017, near Al Dashaisha, Syria via Airwars report.
July 2, 2017, near Al Soor, Syria via Airwars report.
July 13, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria via Airwars report.
July 23, 2017, near Nazlet Shahata, Syria via Airwars report.
Aug. 5, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria via Airwars report.
Aug. 11, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
Aug. 23, 2017, near Karabla, al Qaiem, Iraq via Airwars report.
Aug. 23, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria via Airwars report.
Sept. 4, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria via Airwars report.
Sept. 5, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via media report.
Sept. 17, 2017, near Abu Kamal, Syria, via Airwars report.
Sept. 18, 2017, near al Mrashdah village, Albu Kamal, Syria, via Airwars report.
Sept. 19, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report.
Oct. 10, 2017, near Deir Ez Zor, Syria via self-report.
Oct. 13, 2017, near Husaybah, al Qaiem, Iraq via Airwars report.
Oct. 17, 2017, near Abu Kamal, Syria via self-report.
Nov. 14, 2017, near al-Hawaij village, Syria, via Airwars report.
Nov. 26, 2017, near Daranj, Syria, via Airwars report.
Nov. 28, 2017, near El Qata, Syria, via self-report.
Dec. 1, 2017, near Granij, Syria, via Airwars report.
Dec. 5, 2017, near al-Jarthi, Syria, via Airwars report.
Dec. 10, 2017, near Abu Hamam, Syria, via Airwars report.
Dec. 22, 2017, near Hajin, Syria, via Airwars report.
Dec. 29, 2017, near al-Bahra, Syria, via Airwars report.
Feb. 6, 2018, near al-Shafaa, Syria, via self-report.
Feb. 28, 2018, near al-Sha’fah village, Syria, via Airwars report.
Mar. 2, 2018, near al-Bajari, Syria, via Airwars report.
May 10, 2018, near al Khatuniyah, Syria, via self-report.
May 27, 2018, near al-Soussa, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 12, 2018, near Hassoun al-Basha village, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 13, 2018, near al-Sousa, Syria, via Airwars report.
June 21, 2018, near al-Sha’fah, Syria, via Airwars report.
July 16, 2018, near Deir Ezzor, Syria, via self-report.
Nov. 12, 2018, near Hajin, via social media report
Nov. 14, 2018, near Abu Kamal and Al Baghouz, via social media report.
Nov. 17, 2018, near Abu al-Hasan, Syria, via Syrian Observatory for Human Rights report.
Nov. 25, 2018, near Al- Sha’fa, Syria, via social media report.
Nov.29, 2018, near Al-Sha’fa, Syria, via social media report.
Nov. 29, 2018, near Al-Kashma, Syria, via social media report.
Dec. 10, 2018, near al-Kashmah, Syria, via social media report.
Dec. 12, 2018, near Hajin, Syria, via self-report.
Dec. 12, 2018, near Abu Kamal, Syria, via self-report.
Dec. 20, 2018, near al-Shafaa, Syria, via social media report.
Jan. 04, 2019, near al-Shafaa, Syria, via self-report.
Jan. 05, 2019, near al-Mrashdah, Syria, via self-report.
Jan. 10, 2019, near al-Shajlah, Syria, via self-report.
Jan. 10, 2019, near al-Susah, Syria, via self-report.
Jan. 18, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Abu Kamal, Syria, via social media report.
Jan. 20, 2019, near al-Shajlah, Syria, via self-report.
Jan. 22, 2019, near al-Shajlah, Syria, via social media report.
Jan. 23, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via social media report.
Jan. 25, 2019, near al-Baghouz Fawqani, Syria, via self-report.
Jan. 25, 2019, near al-Mrashdah, Syria, via self-report.
Feb. 6, 2019, near al-Busayrah, Syria, via self-report.
Feb. 10, 2019, near Omer Oil fields, Syria, via media report and Airwars report.
Feb. 11, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via social media report.
Feb. 12, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via social media report.
Mar. 2, 2019, near al-Baghouz Fawqani, Syria, via self-report.
Mar. 7, 2019, near al-Baghouz camp, Syria, via Airwars report.
Mar. 13, 2019, near al-Baghouz, Syria, via Airwars report.
Mar. 18, 2019, near al-Baghouz Fawqani, Syria, via self-report.
Mar. 20, 2019, near Anbar province, Iraq, via self-report.
Apr. 15, 2019, near al-Sha’afa, Syria, via social media report.

*During a recent internal database audit, the CJTF-OIR CIVCAS Cell discovered an administrative error involving a 2017 allegation – Feb. 22, 2017, near Mosul, Iraq, via self-report: During a strike on ISIS fighters in a moving vehicle, it was assessed that one civilian was unintentionally killed when he entered the target area after the munition was released (Reported Apr. 30, 2017). The Public Affairs release was correct; however, the affected civilian was not recorded in the database correctly.

(Sources: US Dept of Defense, Amnesty International)

By Dana Taib Menmy for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Thousands of dunams of wheat and barley crops were torched this month in Kirkuk, Ninevah, Salahuddin and Diyala provinces, adding agony to the harsh lives of Iraqi farmers and raising the question of who is really behind the fires?

Click here to read the full story.

Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan met Iraqi Council of Representatives Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi at the Pentagon on Wednesday to reaffirm the strategic security partnership between the U.S. and Iraq and the U.S. commitment to a sovereign, secure, and prosperous Iraq.

The secretary extended his condolences to the speaker for the tragic ferry accident in Mosul that killed more than a hundred civilians last week.

The leaders discussed the enduring value of the U.S.-Iraq security partnership and ways to better partner against the enduring threat ISIS poses to both nations and to the world. U.S. security assistance is specifically designed to empower Iraqi forces to defeat ISIS and prevent its resurgence.

The leaders agreed that the U.S.-Iraq security partnership makes us all safer—Iraqis, Americans, and regional allies alike. They also agreed on the value of the international Coalition to Defeat ISIS and the need for continued Coalition support to Iraq.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

By Geneive Abdo, for Foreign Policy. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Pro-Iran factions are pushing for the move just as the Islamic State is starting to hit back.

Momentum is building among deputies in the Iraqi parliament to oust U.S. troops entirely from the country—an outcome that would leave Iraq’s political future in the hands of neighboring Iran and leave its citizens more vulnerable to the Islamic State.

Today, the United States fields an estimated 5,200 troops in Iraq. They are there as part of a security agreement with the Iraqi government to advise, assist, and support that country’s troops in the fight against the Islamic State.

But the Iraqi parliament is expected to vote soon on draft laws calling for a full withdrawal. For now, things don’t look good for the troops.

Click here to read the full story.

By Hamdi Malik for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News

The Iraqi security forces have expanded their operations to track down members of the Islamic State (IS) in the vast Western Desert.

The security forces, however, have yet to reach an integrated strategy to confront IS in these lands, which stretch along Iraq’s borders with three countries and are located near key Sunni and Shiite cities.

The sub-governor of the city of al-Ratba in west Anbar, Emad al-Dulaimi, confirmed March 13 that an IS member killed a resident who was kidnapped while picking truffles more than two weeks ago in the desert.

Click here to read the full story.

By Mustafa Saadoun for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi security forces killed five suicide attackers northwest of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul Feb. 20. A car bomb in central Mosul killed one civilian and wounded 13 others Feb. 28, just the latest in many recent incidents that have also hit the southern and western parts of the country.

A group of Islamic State fighters entered Haditha province in Anbar governorate on the evening of Feb. 23 and crossed Lake Tharthar in private boats. In Najaf governorate, they came upon six fishermen sleeping in a tent and opened fire, killing them all.

On the same day, an IS group armed with explosive belts and machine guns attacked the village of Anamel in al-Shirqat, Saladin governorate. The residents along with the Federal Police and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) fought back.

Click here to read the full story.

During December 2018 a total of 32 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 32 injured in acts of terrorism and conflict-related violence.

Ninewa was the worst affected Governorate with 26 civilian casualties (07 killed, 19 injured) followed by Baghdad with (17 killed and 03 injured) and Salahadin (03 killed and 03 injured). The figures include ordinary citizens and others considered civilian at the time of death or injury, such as police on non-combat functions, civil defence, personal security teams, facilities protection police and fire department personnel.

UNAMI views these figures as more than mere statistics. Every civilian death documented by UNAMI over the years represents a family grieving and struggling to come to terms with its loss. Each injury or maiming of a civilian represents immense individual and societal suffering,” Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Ms. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, said.

NOTE FOR INFORMATION:

UNAMI used to publish these casualty figures on a monthly basis as part of its broader efforts to highlight civilian protection needs, reduce civilian harm, and to encourage all parties to the conflict to abide by their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law. However, UNAMI’s monitoring in recent months has shown a steady reduction in civilian casualties. UNAMI has therefore decided that it will no longer publish these civilian casualty updates on a monthly basis but only if circumstances dictate. Whilst this decision is made in the context of a stabilizing security situation, and a consequent reduction in conflict-related harm to civilians, the conditions necessary for a sustained reduction in violence remain very fragile. UNAMI will, therefore, continue to monitor the situation.

*CAVEATS: UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in certain areas; in some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum. UNAMI was not able to verify casualty figures from Anbar Governorate and as a result they are not included.

(Source: United Nations)

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqis forces parade and celebrate in the streets of Mosul as they mark a year since Iraq declared victory against the Islamic State group, the conclusion of a three-year battle to oust the jihadists.

View on YouTube

A total of 41 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 73 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in November 2018*, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

The figures include ordinary citizens and others considered civilians at the time of death or injury, such as police in non-combat functions, civil defence, personal security teams, facilities protection police and fire department personnel.

The Special Representative for Iraq of the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ján Kubiš, said the continuing loss of life is regrettable but the latest figures are the lowest since UNAMI began publishing them in November 2012.

“These are not just figures. They are human beings with families. But these figures, sad as they are, also reflect the continuing downward trend in the level of violence as the country recovers from its fight with terrorism and presses ahead towards a stable, prosperous future,” the Special Representative said.

Baghdad was the most affected Governorate, with 55 civilian casualties (23 killed, 32 injured), followed by Ninewa (08 killed and 19 injured) and Anbar (04 killed and 15 injured).

*CAVEATS: UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in certain areas; in some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. Figures for casualties from Anbar Governorate are provided by the Health Directorate and are noted above. 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. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

(Source: United Nations)

By Ranj Alaaldin.

The June 2014 takeover of Mosul by the Islamic State group (ISIS) was described as an existential threat to the Iraqi state and the post-2003 political order.

Yet, its emergence was only a symptom of a broader series of crises that had engulfed Iraq over the past decade. While militant groups dominate headlines, it is Iraq’s structural problems that have enabled their emergence.

This includes weakened or partly collapsed institutions; the absence of the rule of law; dysfunctional and corrupt governance; the ascendancy of sectarian divisions; and the disastrous post-conflict reconstruction process that followed the aftermath of the 2003 U.S. invasion.

State fragility in the Levant and the regional proxy war in Syria have exacerbated these challenges and have stifled Iraq’s efforts to stabilize and rehabilitate its institutions.

The full report can be read here.

(Source: Brookings Institution)