U.S. Central Command released drone surveillance video today it says shows ISIS fighters forcibly moving civilians into a west Mosul home to be used as human shields.
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The video was taken on March 29 at the height of the Iraqi military’s difficult push to retake the western half of Iraq’s second largest city from ISIS.
"Our Iraqi partners and CJTF have seen the tactic of ISIS intentionally placing civilians in harm's way," said Col. John J. Thomas, U.S. Central Command spokesman, in a statement released Friday. "While the video cannot portray intent, it does show actions, including knowingly establishing firing positions while civilians were present."
The video was first referenced by U.S. military officials in the days following the announcement of an investigation into an airstrike in west Mosul that had allegedly killed as many as 200 civilians.
On March 30, Colonel Joe Scrocca, a coalition spokesman told reporters that ISIS was “smuggling civilians into buildings so we won’t see them and trying to bait the coalition to attack to take advantage of the public outcry and deter action in the future.”
“For the first time we caught this on video yesterday as armed ISIS fighters forced civilians into a building killed one who resisted and then used the building as a fighting position against the CTS,” Scrocca said. CTS is the elite Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service.
The video released by U.S. Central Command compresses hours of overhead surveillance into a two minute clip that shows armed ISIS fighters at the compound before they fired at Iraqi forces.
The ISIS fighters are seen leading two small groups of women and children into a building.
After the movement of civilians the ISIS fighters began firing at Iraqi forces.
"The Coalition, through full motion video and real-time surveillance, observed the civilians and therefore did not respond with an airstrike against the position," said Thomas. The Iraqi government previously released a portion of this video on social media.