In an incident not previously tracked by Airwars, the Coalition confirmed the death of a civilian in an incident near Mosul in June 2017.
Their September 2017 civilian casualty report noted: “During a strike on ISIS fighters engaging partner forces from a fighting position, it was assessed that one civilian, not observed near the target before the engagement, was unintentionally killed.” The Coalition provided Airwars with the location for this incident, accurate to within a one metre box. The location given placed the event in southern Zanjili.
Australia has conceded harm in this event. An ADF briefing issued on September 29th 2017 noted:
“On 7 June 2017, one Australian aircraft conducted an airstrike in support of Iraqi Security Forces who were under direct fire from enemy fighters in Mosul. Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel were also involved in the Coalition approval process.
“A single precision guided munition was released, striking the target and destroying a section of a building used by Daesh as a defensive fighting position. During the post-airstrike review process, ADF personnel reported it was possible that a civilian
may have been present in the strike location. The personnel involved, using the information available to them, acted in compliance with the laws of armed conflict and Australian rules of engagement.”
It additionally noted: “The second incident occurred on 7 June 2017 in West Mosul. West Mosul was an incredibly dangerous area with Daesh taking over Iraqi civilian homes, booby trapping the buildings and using them as defensive fighting positions. The Iraqi Security Forces were conducting clearance operations which required removing Daesh fighters street by street.
“During the operation to re-take West Mosul, Iraqi Security Forces were regularly engaged by Daesh fighters using small arms, heavy machine guns, mortars and rocket propelled grenade launchers. On the 07 June, Australian F/A-18 aircraft supported Iraqi Security Forces who were under direct fire from Daesh fighters using small arms. A thorough assessment of the target, a residential building that was occupied by Daesh fighters, was conducted to ensure all feasible precautions were taken to minimise harm to civilians, and ISF operating in the area, and to reduce potential damage to property.
A strike was conducted on the Daesh fighting position with one precision guided, low collateral, munition.
“No civilians were observed in the area prior to the strike, however after the routine post-strike review and analysis process, ADF personnel assessed that it was possible that civilians may have been present in the location of the strike when people were observed to leave the rear of the target building. In accordance with our own processes, the ADF personnel reported the incident to the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) for further assessment including a thorough legal review.
Consistent with our normal procedures, ADF personnel were involved in the Coalition strike approval process for this mission.
“Based on the information available, OIR assessed that it was more likely than not a civilian was seriously injured or killed as a result of the strike against Daesh fighters on 7 June, however the report also noted that all feasible precautions were taken to prevent civilian casualties prior to the strike.”
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (3) [ collapse]
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Civilian casualty statements
Sep 1, 2017
June 7, 2017, near Mosul, Iraq, via self-report: During a strike on ISIS fighters engaging partner forces from a fighting position, it was assessed that one civilian, not observed near the target before the engagement, was unintentionally killed.
Original strike reports
For June 6th-7th the Coalition reported: “Near Rawah [20km from Anah], two strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed four ISIS staging areas, an ISIS headquarters, and an ISIS warehouse.“ It additionally added that on June 6th “Near Rawah, Iraq, one strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit.“