6 months of Mosul onslaught: Thousands of civilians killed in terrorist capital siege
  • People run in panic after an airstrike by the coalition hits Islamic State positions in Mosul, Iraq, November 17, 2016 © Goran Tomasevic
  • Reuters

6 months of Mosul onslaught: Thousands of civilians killed in terrorist capital siege

Six months have passed since the siege of Mosul was officially launched by the Iraqi army and its allies, including the US. Thousands of civilians have been killed in the battle, with hundreds of thousands being forced to flee the devastation.

Mosul fell into the hands of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) during the terrorist group’s lightning Iraq offensive in 2014 and became its de facto capital in Iraq.

The siege was officially launched on October 16, 2016, after months of preparing the operation and drawing forces towards the city.

The coalition forces outnumbered the terrorists by at least 10 times, had air support from the US and its allies.

The terrorists used car bombs, snipers firing from the city, surprise hit-and-run attacks and weaponized civilian drones to deter the attackers.

By late January 2017, IS was pushed out from the entire eastern part of Mosul, but the fighting for the western part across the Tigris River continues.

Residents of the city were caught in the crossfire, being killed by IS snipers, Iraqi mortar shells and US airstrikes alike.

More than 400,000 fled the city, overwhelming Iraq’s capacity to shelter and feed those displaced people.

The UN says 22 percent of residents of western Mosul had been displaced by end of March.

According to Amnesty International, the US-led coalition killed hundreds of people, who were told by the Iraqi authorities not to leave the city despite the fighting.