In October 2016, a coalition of Iraqi and international forces launched military operations to re-take the city of Mosul from ISIS. In response to the ensuing humanitarian crisis, the international community planned and executed a large-scale assistance operation for the inhabitants of Mosul and those fleeing the city. Under International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the responsibility for collecting and treating the war-wounded lies with the parties involved in combat. Despite initial plans that correctly placed the responsibility for trauma care with the pro-government forces, both the Iraqi and international forces ultimately abdicated this responsibility, leaving humanitarian actors to fill the void.
Recognising the ongoing nature of similar military operations in the region and seeking to learn from the Mosul experience, MSF commissioned Humanitarian Outcomes to conduct an independent review of the trauma response to facilitate reflection within MSF and externally within the sector. Recognizing there are no easy answers to the complex problems facing humanitarians in conflicts, the review presents the available evidence and provides analysis aimed to inform difficult decisions over how to provide impartial medical assistance in conflict zones.