The price Mosul's residents paid in blood to see their city freed was between 9,000 and 11,000 dead, a civilian casualty rate nearly 10 times higher than what has been previously reported. The number killed in the nine-month battle to liberate the city from Daesh militants has not been acknowledged by the U.S.-led coalition, the Iraqi government or the terrorist group.
But Mosul's gravediggers, its morgue workers and the volunteers who retrieve bodies from the city's rubble are keeping count.
Iraqi or coalition forces are responsible for at least 3,200 civilian deaths from airstrikes, artillery fire or mortar rounds between October 2016 and the fall of the Daesh terrorist group in July 2017, according to an Associated Press investigation that cross-referenced independent databases from non-governmental organizations.
Most of those victims are simply described as "crushed" in health ministry reports.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi told the AP that 1,260 civilians were killed in the fighting. The coalition, which says it lacks the resources to send investigators into Mosul, acknowledges responsibility for only 326 of the deaths.
"It was the biggest assault on a city in a couple of generations, all told. And thousands died," said Chris Woods, head of Airwars, an independent organization that documents air and artillery strikes in Iraq and Syria and shared its database with the AP.
"There doesn't seem to be any disagreement about that, except from the federal government and the coalition. And the disinterest in any sort of investigation is very disheartening," Woods said.
In addition to the Airwars database, the AP analyzed information from Amnesty International, Iraq Body Count and a United Nations report. AP also obtained a list of 9,606 names of people killed during the operation from Mosul's morgue. Hundreds of dead civilians are believed to still be buried in the rubble.
Of the nearly 10,000 deaths the AP found, around a third of the casualties died in bombardments by the U.S.-led coalition or Iraqi forces, the analysis found. Another third of the dead were killed in Daesh terrorist group's final frenzy of violence. And it could not be determined which side was responsible for the deaths of the remainder, who were cowering in neighborhoods battered by airstrikes, Daesh explosives and mortar rounds from all sides.
What is clear from the tallies is that as coalition and Iraqi government forces increased their pace, civilians were dying in ever higher numbers at the hands of their liberators: from 20 the week the operation began in mid-October 2016 to 303 in a single week at the end of June 2017, according to the AP tally.
Abdel-Hafiz Mohammed, who kept his job as undertaker throughout the militants' rule, has carved approximately 2,000 headstones for the al-Jadidah graveyard alone since October 2016, the month the battle began.
After the city fell to Daesh in 2014, undertakers like him handled the victims of beheadings and stonings. But once the operation to free the city started, the scope of Mohammed's work changed yet again.
"Now I carve stones for entire families," Mohammed said, gesturing to a stack of four headstones, all bearing the same name. "It's a single family, all killed in an airstrike," he said.
Mosul was home to more than a million civilians before the fight to retake it from Daesh. Fearing a massive humanitarian crisis, the Iraqi government dropped leaflets or had soldiers tell families to stay put as the final battle loomed in late 2016.
Thousands were trapped as the front line enveloped densely-populated neighborhoods.
Blast injuries, gunshot wounds and shrapnel wounds killed thousands as the Mosul operation ground westward, according to morgue documents.
When Iraqi forces became bogged down in late December, the Pentagon adjusted the rules regarding the use of airpower, allowing airstrikes to be called in by more ground commanders with less chain- of-command oversight.
At the same time, Daesh fighters took thousands of civilians with them in their retreat west. They packed hundreds of families into schools and government buildings, sometimes shunting civilians through tunnels from one fighting position to another.
As the fight punched into western Mosul, the morgue logs filled with civilians increasingly killed by being "blown to pieces."
By early March, Iraqi officials and the U.S.-led coalition could see that civilian deaths were spiking, but held the course. The coalition has defended its operational choices, saying it was Daesh that put civilians in danger as it clung to power.
"It is simply irresponsible to focus criticism on inadvertent casualties caused by the Coalition's war to defeat ISIS," Col. Thomas Veale, a coalition spokesman, told the AP in response to questions about civilian deaths, using an alternative acronym for Daesh.
"Without the Coalition's air and ground campaign against ISIS, there would have inevitably been additional years, if not decades of suffering and needless death and mutilation in Syria and Iraq at the hands of terrorists who lack any ethical or moral standards," he added.
Reports of civilian deaths began to dominate military planning meetings in Baghdad in February and early March, according to a senior Western diplomat who was present but not authorized to speak on the record.
After a single coalition strike killed more than 100 civilians in Mosul's al-Jadidah neighborhood on March 17, the entire fight was put on hold for three weeks. Under intense international pressure, the coalition sent a team into the city to investigate.
Iraq's special forces units were instructed that they were no longer allowed to call in strikes on buildings. Instead, the forces were told to call in coalition airstrikes on gardens and roads adjacent to Daesh targets.
A WhatsApp group shared by coalition advisers and Iraqi forces coordinating airstrikes previously named "killing daesh 24/7" was wryly renamed "scaring daesh 24/7."
"It was clear that the whole strategy in western Mosul had to be reconfigured," said the Western diplomat.
But on the ground, Iraqi special forces officers said after the operational pause, they returned to the fight just as before.
The WhatsApp group's name was changed back to "killing daesh."
The Pentagon investigation into the March strike concluded that a U.S. bomb resulted in the deaths of 105 civilians but ultimately blamed secondary explosions from Daesh-laid bombs.
At the time, just two American officers were fielding all allegations of civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria from a base in Kuwait. The team now has seven members, though none sets foot inside the city or routinely collects physical evidence.
"Everything can be rebuilt, it's the lives lost that cannot be replaced," said Daoud Salem Mahmoud, a civilian survivor of the battle, adding, "this war, it turned Mosul into a graveyard."
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