Russian FM calls for UNSC briefing over deadly US airstrike on Mosul
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has called for a UN Security Council briefing over a recent US airstrike on Mosul which claimed the lives of over 200 people.
“The most recent tragedy happened on March 17, to be precise it is not the latest one as there were numerous incidents that claimed civilian lives after it. However, the March 17 [tragedy], when the bombings lasted for several hours and an estimated 200 civilians were killed, stands out because of its scale,” said Lavrov during a press conference on Monday.
Lavrov (seen above) added that it was quite strange that the US had not realized they were hitting the wrong targets for hours despite having advanced targeting equipment.
He went to say that his country “is interested in liberating Mosul from terrorists,” while noting that the US-led coalition should be more “cautious and responsible” like Russia in Syria’s Aleppo.
“A corridor was organized for all the militants, including the members of the terrorist groups [to leave eastern Aleppo]. Many [militants] seized this opportunity, thus reducing the need for the use of military force for the liberation of that part of the city,” Lavrov said.
“We expect that a similar regardful, cautious and responsible approach would be used by the coalition in its further actions in Mosul,” he added.
He also noted that Russia was closely monitoring the operations to liberate Mosul and has brought the matter of the ever increasing civilian casualties before the UNSC in the past.
Last week, the UN expressed “profound concern” over the increase of civilian casualties in the Iraqi city and called on all parties engaged in anti-terror operations in the country to avoid “indiscriminate use of firepower.”
On Thursday, Iraq's Kurdish-language Rudaw television network reported that 237 people had been killed in US-led coalition airstrikes on a Daesh-held neighborhood in western Mosul.
Amnesty voices concerns over civilian casualties
Meanwhile, Amnesty International has voiced its concerns over the number of civilian casualties in Mosul, suggesting the US-led coalition may not be doing enough to avoid such casualties.
Evidence "points to an alarming pattern of US-led coalition airstrikes which have destroyed whole houses with entire families inside," said a the report released by the rights group. It added that failure to avoid civilian casualties is "in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law."
On Saturday, the US-led coalition confirmed it had launched an airstrike on the day "at the location corresponding to allegations of civilian casualties."
Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters launched an offensive to retake Mosul in October 2016. The forces took control of eastern Mosul in January and launched the battle in the west on February 19.
Pentagon investigating civilian deaths
On Monday, the Pentagon announced that it was analyzing over 700 video feeds from airstrikes on west Mosul following the increasing number of reports of civilians causalities.
A spokesman for the US Central Command, Colonel J.T. Thomas, stressed that high priority was being given to the reports.
"The numbers of civilian casualties that have been reported variously -- one of the things we're looking at is if some of those numbers are cumulative from different incidents, different engagements, in this highly contested, very ferocious battle that's going on in Mosul," he said.
He added that the US was aware they were dropping bombs in the “immediate vicinity" of areas with a high civilian population but their bombs were "quite precise."
"With a densely populated area, and the kind of door-to-door, street-to-street fighting, with more bombs being dropped, and there are still thousands of civilians still in western Mosul, that is one of our significant concerns," he added.