WASHINGTON (June 29, 2017)—Responding to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s statement today on the capture of the Grand al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, Sahr Muhammedally, director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) issued the following statement: 

“The impending victory over ISIS in Mosul should be applauded, but according to the Iraqi government there are 50,000 civilians still held hostage by ISIS in pockets of the old city in Mosul today, with Iraqi forces trying to evacuate them. No effort should be spared to bring them to safety.

“Also, nearly 900,000 civilians have fled Mosul since fighting began in October 2016. Their suffering must be acknowledged and immediate action taken to address the unimaginable hardship and loss they endured. The Iraqi government and anti-ISIS coalition must ensure humanitarian assistance is available, prioritize the restoration of basic and medical services, and clear buildings and roads of booby traps so people can return home safely. There must also be a robust presence of security forces properly trained and monitored to provide security and prevent revenge attacks against returning civilians.

“The challenges in Iraq after Mosul are many, but ensuring that all Iraqis are protected from harm and their losses dignified and recognized is essential to build the foundation for stability and reconciliation in Iraq.”


ISIS rule in Iraq has led to tremendous civilian suffering for those who lived under ISIS draconian rule and for those it deliberately killed and raped for being of a different religious, sect, or ethnic group. Eight months of intense fighting amidst thousands of civilians in Mosul has resulted in many deaths and injuries and widespread destruction of homes and critical infrastructure. ISIS has used civilians as human shields, prevented civilians from fleeing, and deliberately killed those who tried to leave. Many Iraqi forces also died in the battle for Mosul. The group is still present in parts of Anbar and Kirkuk provinces.

Notes to editors:
Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)’s mission is to improve protection for civilians caught in conflicts around the world. We call on and advise international organizations, governments, militaries, and armed non-state actors to adopt and implement policies to prevent civilian harm. When civilians are harmed we advocate for the provision of amends and post-harm assistance. We bring the voices of civilians themselves to those making decisions affecting their lives.

For more information, contact Christopher Allbritton at +1 (917) 310-4785 or chris@civiliansinconflict.org.

Image courtesy of CIVIC