In Mosul, Grim Homecomings And A Struggle To Survive In A City Now Free From ISIS
The military plan to retake Mosul, agreed to between Iraq and the U.S., involved encircling ISIS, leaving the fighters no escape route once they were surrounded in the Old City. But it also left no escape for civilians trapped between ISIS gunmen and Iraqi and U.S. airstrikes.
Although the U.S. curtailed airstrikes in the crowded Old City after more than 100 civilians were killed in a March strike on a neighborhood called Jadida, Iraqi airstrikes continued. Mosul residents say dozens of civilians were killed along with each ISIS fighter.
…The Iraqi military does not release casualty figures, but in a speech last week, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the numbers of security forces killed or injured exceeded the number of civilian casualties.
Estimates for the total number of civilians killed during the three-month battle for Mosul range as high as 38,000, the number put forth by some Kurdish leaders, but most Iraqi officials believe the likely figure is 3,000 to 4,000 civilian casualties. More than 1,400 bodies have been recovered so far by civil defense forces.
…One Iraqi army officer said that in his battalion of 800 men, 400 had been killed or wounded. Special forces who have been leading the fight against ISIS for three years are estimated to have lost 40 percent of their troops.
Graffiti on a wall in Mosul lists security forces who took back the city.