Earlier this week, Iraqi forces began a military operation in the Old City of Mosul. With each passing day, the fighting grows more intense. It’s estimated that tens of thousands of civilians are trapped inside the Old City, a densely- populated maze of narrow alleyways and houses. With constant shelling, civilians have been caught in the crossfire. Staying could mean dying, but trying to escape could mean dying too. Read the ICRC news release here and see how we’re supporting civilians in Iraq here.
Last week, the ICRC released a special report on the impact of war in cities, including Mosul. The report looks at what civilians in these places go through, and found that at least 70% of civilian deaths in the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq occur in urban areas. In addition, the wars in Iraq, Yemen and Syria accounted for nearly half of all civilian war deaths globally between 2010 and 2015.
In this week’s roundup, we take a look at the battle for Mosul, as portrayed by the media and other online outlets.**
Journalist’s Notebook: Into the Battle of Mosul, Armed with a Camera (New York Times)
Ben C. Solomon, a Times video journalist, tells the story of Major Sajjad al-Hour as he leads 150 men through the war-torn streets of Mosul.
UN believes up to 150,000 Civilians Trapped in Mosul (Al Jazeera)
Al Jazeera reports the United Nations believes up to 150,000 civilians are still trapped in harrowing conditions in Mosul's Old City. The UN's humanitarian chief Lise Grande said in an interview on Friday with The Associated Press that the global body expects the final battle for the Old City to start "within days". She said conditions there "are desperate" and the UN expects almost all civilians to try to escape.
The BBC reports that hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled the northern Iraqi city of Mosul as government security forces continue their military offensive to reclaim the city from so-called Islamic State (IS).
Shelly Kittleson writes that as Iraqi forces clear the recently liberated Zinjili neighborhood in western Mosul, the civilians who are finally leaving now find themselves caught in the crossfire.
Tom Wescott writes that desperate displaced people are now fleeing west Mosul, as the Iraqi army fights off so-called Islamic State in the group’s last stronghold in Iraq. After almost three years of terror under IS, four months of living on the verge of starvation since the fight for Mosul began, and three weeks of intense fighting as the Iraqi Army and its allies advanced into west Mosul, the humanitarian situation inside the city has become so dire that families have little choice but to risk their lives by walking through the front lines of the conflict just to try and survive.
Are you a writer, videographer, photographer or blogger publishing interesting stuff linked to armed conflict, international humanitarian law (a.k.a. the law of armed conflict), innovation, compassion, history, etc. that you think deserves a shout-out here? Send us a link and we might feature your content next week. Write to: nclark (at) icrc (dot) org
**The usual Intercross disclaimer: Just because something is featured here, doesn't mean we endorse or agree with it, and the views expressed on the platforms we're highlighting don't necessarily represent those of the ICRC. **
- I Saw My City Die
- What You Need to Know about Urban War
- New Report - When War Moves to Cities: Protection of Civilians in Urban Areas