PAX; Syria & Iraq Alert III: Protect civilians in Mosul and Raqqa

In this report, PAX raises the alarm on the serious rise of civilian casualties caused by the military campaigns of the US-led Global Coalition Against ISIS in the cities of Raqqa (Syria) and Mosul (Iraq).

PAX fears that this increase, registered in the spring of 2017, is caused by a loosening of the Coalition’s rules of engagement set up to limit civilian harm. According to PAX, such lack of interest for civilian protection is counterproductive to Coalition goals since it fuels anger and resentment in the local population, which in turn may be beneficial for ISIS and extremist groups.

Moreover, PAX criticizes the absence of a strategic plan for a long-term peacebuilding project for Raqqa and Mosul after the military campaign. It recommends the states involved in the Coalition campaign to develop and express commitment to a political post-ISIS strategy addressing:

  • The root causes for the rise of ISIS;
  • The establishment of truth-finding mechanisms for war crimes;
  • Develops justice and monitoring mechanisms for compliance with the laws of war by the groups involved in the military campaign against ISIS;
  • The establishment of an inclusive, responsive and legitimate civil governance in Raqqa and Mosul;
  • Local transitional justice mechanisms, focusing on justice, reconciliation, the return of refugees and internally displaced persons and protection of housing, land and property rights.

PAX warns that without a long-term peacebuilding strategy, a military campaign is not enough to win over ISIS legacy.