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CNA analysis of military operations over the past two decades, including Mosul and Raqqa, has identified practical steps for military forces to reduce risks to civilians. Whether the conflict is state-onstate or involves non-state actors, these lessons are applicable.


Liberating the urban populations of Mosul and Raqqa from a siege of terror by an irregular and unprincipled force was a measure of effective warfare by a multinational force working with partners on the ground. Nonetheless, the toll on civilians was severe, including human casualties, damage to infrastructure, and disruption of essential services and medical care. Some international observers noted afterward that they had not seen major cities so devastated by combat since World War II. Two years after liberation, public source
images still document the extant effects of protracted bombing campaigns.

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  • Pages:
  • Document Number: IMM-2024-U-037495-Final
  • Publication Date: 1/30/2024