Statement from Operation Inherent Resolve spokesperson on use of White Phosphorus
In accordance with the law of armed conflict white phosphorus rounds have occasionally been used for screening, obscuring, and marking, when it is determined to be the most appropriate munition for the task, in a way that fully considers the possible incidental effects on civilians and civilian structures.
In Mosul, smoke rounds were used to screen and conceal civilians so they could escape from Daesh snipers. Smoke has also been used to enable Coalition and partner forces to move under fire from Daesh. The Coalition has not targeted enemy fighters with white phosphorous and certainly would not target civilians.
The Coalition takes all reasonable precautions to minimize the risk of incidental injury to non-combatants and damage to civilian structures. However, Daesh continues its blatant disregard for innocent human life by killing civilians trying to flee the fighting and the Coalition will not stand idly by and allow civilians to die needlessly if we can help protect them.
The Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition take great effort to protect civilians from harm during operations. Our mission is to defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria and the liberation of Mosul marks a significant victory for the ISF. Women and children were being deliberately gunned down by Daesh every day as starving people in the Old City waited to be rescued. Their only hope was that the Iraqi Security Forces, supported by the Coalition, would save them.