US Coalition Admits Possible Role in Mosul Civilian Deaths

Baghdad, March 29 (QNA) - The International Coalition forces "probably" played a role in the deaths of numerous civilians during a recent airstrike in west Mosul, US commander of the coalition in Iraq said.

"We probably had a role in those casualties," US General Stephen Townsend, who commands the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, told reporters in a phone briefing from Baghdad.

"If those innocents were killed, it was an unintentional accident of war," he said.

The March 17 airstrike on west Mosul has killed up to 150 people, according to Amnesty International, though Iraqi civil defense has reported a much higher figure.

Townsend added that the recent rise in civilian casualties in Mosul was "fairly predictable" given the densely populated urban neighborhoods that ISIS fighters are defending against Iraqi government troops.

However, Amnesty on Tuesday accused coalition forces of failing to protect civilians in Mosul.

The rights group said evidence gathered from the ground "points to an alarming pattern of US-led coalition airstrikes which have destroyed whole houses with entire families inside".

It added that any failure to take precautions to prevent civilian casualties would be "in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law".

Townsend said the building hit March 17 could not have been demolished by a single bomb.

He did not rule out the possibility that that the extensive damage was caused by an ISIS truck bomb.

He said it was also possible that the civilians killed had been "forced" to remain in the building by ISIS.

The US has launched an investigation into the deadly strike. (QNA)

Source: Qatar News Agency