November 20, 2017

BATTLE OF MOSUL CASUALTY UPDATE: Since 2014 when the Islamic State seized the city, I’ve written several columns about Mosul and the subsequent campaign to liberate it from ISIS. StrategyPage has also covered it in detail.

Over the last few months the blog Musings On Iraq has had several excellent posts about Mosul and the campaign to liberate northern Iraq. The latest updates the toll in dead and wounded. City fights are killers — street and house to house fighting are “casualty heavy.”

Understand that the UN’s casualty figures are incomplete. Grave sites continue to be discovered. Also note the discussion about the “expected” number of wounded, given the number of confirmed fatalities.

First, the United Nations’ Assistance Mission for Iraq and Human Rights Organization put out a report on the human toll of the Mosul campaign. It had 92 unreported incidents that led to 678 deaths and 518 wounded. That included 396 executions by the Islamic State, 194 casualties caused by Iraqi air strikes and artillery, and another 11 injured by Coalition air power. That brought the total number of dead during the operation to 21,224 and 30,996 wounded. 17,404 of the former and 24,580 of the latter occurred in Mosul. The new numbers still highlighted the fact that there are many more undocumented casualties as the wounded should be four to six times higher than the fatalities figure. Even if you subtract the 5,325 people that were executed by the Islamic State that would still mean there should be 60,000-90,000 injured from the fighting.

The following is a breakdown of casualties by cause. Coalition air strikes accounted for 4.2% of the casualties in Ninewa and 5.1% of those inside Mosul. IS executions led to 10.1% of the casualties in Ninewa and 6.6% in Mosul. 11.8% of the dead and wounded in Ninewa and 14.3% of the ones in Mosul were caused by Iraqi air power or artillery.

Read the entire post.

RELATED: StrategyPage’s detailed report on the offensive in western Iraq against the Islamic State. (Scroll down to “The Western Offensive” section.) This report from June addressed some of the bitter fighting within the city of Mosul. It also speculated that 1,400 Islamic State fighters had been killed in Mosul (through mid-June 2017). Note the Musings On Iraq figure for Islamic State fighters killed in Mosul is 1,892 (through the end of the battle). That means the June 2017 estimate was a solid estimate. It indicates that initial coalition battle reports and enemy casualty estimates were reasonably accurate. That isn’t always the case.

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