Seven families – an estimated 20 to 40 people – reportedly died in a Coalition or ISF airstrike on a house on the outskirts of Msherfa in West Mosul.
Amnesty International shared the following field report with Airwars, citing a local eyewitness: “I witnessed another airstrike (presumed) on 29 April in Msherfa. It was a one storey building with no cellar. Only the old buildings have cellars; since we got rid of Saddam we didn’t need cellars anymore (said with a wry smile). The airstrike killed seven families. They (coalition airstrikes) killed more civilians than ISIS. For every ISIS killed they killed 100 civilians (exaggeration for effect).
I was at home in 17 Tammuz when I heard the explosion. The fighting at the time was in Rajum Hadeed. It was quite far from my home – maybe 300 metres away – but my aunt lives in that direction so I got on my motorcycle and went to see if she was alright. The explosion was close to my aunt’s house, on the road out of Musharrafeh towards Harmat. There was no fire at the scene, just rubble and dust. The civil defence boys came and started hosing down the dust in order to dig the bodies out.
I didn’t stay around long as I was afraid of a second strike; that the plane would come around and strike again. It didn’t on this occasion. The neighbours at the scene told me that there had been seven families inside. I don’t know if there had been military targets in the neighbourhood but ISIS was usually mixed in with the population.
I was not afraid of ISIS. You grow a beard, you cut your trousers (above the ankle), you don’t smoke and you’re ok. I was afraid of the coalition as when they strike they don’t know the difference between you and ISIS.”
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (1) [ collapse]
Attached to this civilian harm incident is a provisional reconciliation of the Pentagon's declassified assessment of this civilian harm allegation, based on matching date and locational information.
The declassified documents were obtained by Azmat Khan and the New York Times through Freedom of Information requests and lawsuits filed since March 2017, and are included alongside the corresponding press release published by the Pentagon. Airwars is currently analysing the contents of each file, and will update our own assessments accordingly.
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Civilian casualty statements
Dec 28, 2017
After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area that correspond to the report of civilian casualties. (1403)
Original strike reports
For April 28th-29th: “Near Mosul, four strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed four mortar systems, two supply caches, an anti-air artillery system, a tactical vehicle, and an ISIS staging area; damaged seven ISIS supply routes; and suppressed an ISIS mortar team” and “Near Mosul, Iraq; on April 29th, one strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit; destroyed two fighting positions, two weapons caches, one mortar system, and one front-end loader; and suppressed a heavy machine gun.”