Since the launch of Operation Conquest, or Operation Fatah, in October of last year, many casualties have resulted from all the bloody fighting. The offensive is a U.S.-led coalition made up of Iraqi security forces, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni Tribesman, and Shia militia in an attempt to take back Mosul from ISIS which is considered to be ISIS’ main stronghold in Iraq.

Unfortunately, since the start of the offensive, over 120,000 Civilians have been displaced due to the fighting, and the amount of civilian casualties remains unknown for the time being.

However, US Central Command (CentCom) recently confirmed that a U.S. airstrike targeting two ISIS snipers resulted in the death of 105 Iraqi civilians back in March.

What happened

According to CentCom, precision-guided munitions were used to target the snipers in which the types of bombs used for the airstrike were specifically chosen to minimize collateral damage. However, CentCom claims that the strike detonated much more powerful explosives that were planted in the building by ISIS which caused the building to collapse, killing civilians in the lower floors.

The airstrike came upon the request of Iraqi Security Forces as mentioned by Centcom. According to a declassified summary of the incident, prior to the strike, ISIS militants forcedly displaced civilians from their homes and herded them into the lower floors of the building. The summary went on to mention that it was essentially impossible for all those involved with the orchestration of the strike to know civilians would be in the building.

Mosul offensive

Despite this incident, the U.S.-led coalition has made substantial progress since the start of the offensive. On January 25 of this year, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that the Eastern half of Mosul had officially been liberated from ISIS. Unfortunately, Western Mosul has proven to be more difficult to retake due to the layout of the area.

With the coalition continuing to make significant advances, ISIS’ influence in Iraq has substantially dwindled compared to what it was only a couple years ago. However, the fighting has not been without cost. The U.S. government continues to withhold the exact estimates of civilian casualties that have resulted from the offensive which will most likely remain classified until Mosul is finally liberated. Only time will tell what the result of all this fighting will amount to.