The month of March saw an unprecedented series of civilian casualties due to coalition airstrikes in both Syria and Iraq.
On March 17, Ala’a Ali left his wife and four-year-old daughter at the home of relatives in the al Jadida neighbourhood of Mosul and went home to wash before the morning call to prayer. Two minutes after he arrived home, a deafening explosion ripped through the neighbourhood, engulfing the narrow street in black smoke.
“I hid in the corner of the building, and smoke crept in through the windows,” 28-year-old Ali told The Intercept. “Then the smell hit me, and I could barely breathe.” As soon as he could, he bolted from his hiding place and ran to the scene of the explosion, and the house where he had left his family.
It had been hit by an airstrike from US-led coalition forces bombing ISIS fighters.
Corpses were everywhere in the ruins of the building; more than 200 people were reportedly killed. Ali’s wife was among them, but he wouldn’t know that until Iraqi civil defence forces found her body later that day. Ali heard the sound of a child groaning underneath the rubble. It was his daughter, Awra. Her body was charred black with severe burns, and shrapnel had pierced through the side of her head, cutting across her face and sealing her eyes shut. Miraculously, she was breathing.
Read more at The Intercept