Armed with evidence the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq is using white phosphorous bombs against the expanse surrounding Mosul, Amnesty International (AI) has appealed to Washington to refrain from using the incendiary devices to prevent against civilian deaths for the duration of the offensive against Islamic State militants in Mosul.
Defined as a weapon which is designed to set afire or cause injury by flame or heat, incendiary devices are regulated by the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and banned by the Geneva Convention. Multiple international laws prohibit the use of incendiary weapons against civilians or in civilian areas.
Obtained on Oct. 20, AI, a human rights group, claims to have photographic evidence and eyewitness accounts of the American-led coalition using white phosphorous against Karemlesh, Iraq, approximately 15 miles from Mosul.
Concerned the weapon will cause mass injuries or leave escape routes from Mosul contaminated, Amnesty International’s Donatella Rovera, a senior crisis adviser, said:
“White phosphorus can cause horrific injuries, burning deep into the muscle and bone. It is possible that some of it will only partially burn and could then reignite weeks after being deployed.”
Concerned for the safety of the civilian population, the rights group has called on the leadership of the American coalition to avoid the use of the weapon or give advance warning over its use when the coalition carries out operations against Mosul to “to minimize the risk of accidental harm to civilians.”
As of Oct. 17, when Operation Inherent Resolve commenced, the American-led alliance has admitted to dropping over 2,500 projectiles against the city, which is inhabited by 3,500 to 5,000 ISIS militants against an estimated 1.5 million civilians.
Amnesty believes over 100,000 civilians have fled from the city since the beginning of the offensive.
[RT News] [Photo courtesy march-against-monsanto.com]