Inside Story

Has the rule of engagement changed in Iraq?

There has been an outcry over the high number of civilians killed by suspected US-led coalition air strikes in Mosul.

There has been a dramatic rise in the number of civilians killed in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) in Syria and Iraq.

Rights groups who monitor deaths of civilians in both countries have said dozens of people have been killed in recent weeks in three separate air strikes.

Most of those who died were in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

The US-led coalition on Saturday admitted to carrying out air raids last week at a location in west Mosul where scores of civilians were reportedly killed.

Several more were killed in northern Syria, when bombs were dropped on a school sheltering people and on a mosque. The US is investigating the incidents.

So, what is behind what appears to be an increase in the number of air raids against ISIL? And why has there been a sharp increase in the number of civilian deaths?

Presenter: Martine Dennis


Mark Kimmitt – retired US brigadier general who served as the deputy director of operations and chief military spokesman in Iraq

Ahmed Rushdi – director of the House of Iraqi Expertise Foundation

Chris Woods – director of, which tracks air strikes and civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria