Socialist Worker

Hospital bombed and refugees displaced in a bloody and chaotic battle for Mosul

Issue No. 2535

US artillery pounding Mosul last month

US artillery pounding Mosul last month (Pic: US Army photo by 1st Lt. Daniel Johnson)

The US-led assault on Mosul in Iraq is causing increasing numbers of civilian casualties.

At the end of December at least seven people were killed when a warplane bombed the city’s Ibn-Al-Athir hospital compound. It is the second time a Mosul hospital has been hit.

The attack on Mosul is not going to plan. Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi said he expected it to be retaken by New Year. But only about a quarter of the city is back under government control.

After two months of grinding fighting and heavy casualties, the Iraqi government paused the campaign in December to let its forces regroup.

The battle has already displaced some 118,000 people, the United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said recently, and “In a worst-case scenario as many as one million people could be forced from their homes.”

A representative from the UN’s refugee agency added, “Civilians in Mosul face a stark choice. If they stay, they risk hunger and being caught in the crossfire.

“If they flee, they risk being killed by snipers or landmines.”

There was rightly widespread denunciation of the Syrian and Russian destruction of Aleppo in Syria.

But the killings in Mosul show the hypocrisy of such criticism from the US and Britain, the architects of Iraq’s destruction.

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