Mosul death toll rises from 1,260 to 9,000
The Associated Press has released an updated casualty report from the battle of Mosul: between 9,000 and 11,000 dead, many times higher than the figure of 1,260 cited by the Iraqi government after the climactic fight against Daesh ended in June 2017.
Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, hosts of Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear, spoke to PressTV war correspondent Ali Musawi, witness to the destruction of Mosul, to learn more about where these new thousands of dead suddenly came from.
”In most parts of Mosul, before the liberation, most of the destruction was caused by air strikes,” Musawi said. “The actual fighting on the ground between Iraqi security forces and Daesh terrorists were always in one or two buildings, one street, one neighborhood even. But most of the destruction was caused by air strikes.”
Kiriakou brought up an AP report that a major cause of civilian death during the battle was buildings falling on top of people, toppled by airstrikes.
“Yes, that’s basically what it was,” replied Musawi. “In one instance I spoke to people who fled the old city of Mosul about a month before its liberation. They told me how Daesh terrorists would put three families in one house and blocked the doors with cars. They’d imprison them them in the house and then they made it look like a Daesh headquarters with flags flying all over [so the coalition would bomb it.]”
“Lucky for him, an airstrike hit the area but not the house directly. That created room for them to escape although there were two deaths among those civilians. Daesh uses civilians, whether it’s against air strikes or the advancing army, as human shields. That’s another reason why the high number of civilians were crushed: because they were not allowed to flee.”
Becker asked Musawi why there was such a disparity between coalition casualty figures and the new report, which Musawi believed was primarily due to post-battle activities in Mosul.
“I think the true number is even higher than that, once they tally the final number. The way the war was going is that, when an airstrike took place or when Daesh exploded a building, the people simply took there their dead and buried them in mass graves. As you said, it was a time of war.”
“Now that the fighting is over, people have returned to those graves over the past year or so. They are digging the bodies up to register them with the government that these were civilians who were being killed, so they can issue them death certificates and all the legal documentation for inheritance, or to receive compensation from the government, which requires them to prove that that person has been killed.”
Another reason the figures could differ: politics, of course. Why else would anyone do anything? The coalition’s lowballing of casualty figures was done to “show the world that we won the war with ease, without the high number. Although, I think the figures that they were showing were the numbers they were able to calculate back before they started counting those who have been buried without a cause of death.”
“Now that they’re going through the tally, of course the number’s going to increase. I’m sure those in the coalition knew that, and that’s why they issued the numbers back then to show that their war against Daesh worked with minimal casualties,” Musawi predicted.