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Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

A place to talk about domestic politics in Middle East (Iran, Iraq , Turkey, Syria) Also includes topics about Assyrian, Armenian, Chaldean .

Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:31 pm

At Iraq camp, UN chief urges more aid for people of Mosul

Iraqis flee on foot carrying their belongings to escape the fighting for Mosul's Old City with the Islamic State group on March 30, 2017

UN chief Antonio Guterres appealed on Friday for more aid for the people of Mosul, as he visited a camp for Iraqis displaced by the battle to retake the second city from jihadists.

Iraq is nearly six months into the operation to oust the Islamic State group from its most populous bastion -- a battle that has sparked major humanitarian concerns.

More than 200,000 civilians have fled IS-held west Mosul since last month, while the fighting has taken a devastating toll among the hundreds of thousands more still trapped in the battleground.

"We don't have the resources that are necessary to support these people and we don't have the international solidarity that is needed," Guterres told journalists during a visit to the Hasan Sham Camp.

"Unfortunately, our programme here is only funded at eight percent. That shows how limited our resources are," he said.

"These people have suffered enormously, and they go on suffering. We need more solidarity from the international community."

Guterres said there were not enough resources available to provide acceptable living conditions for the people of Mosul or for the reconciliation efforts that will need to follow when the city has been fully recaptured.

Whether or not real reconciliation occurs in Mosul and elsewhere will play a major role in determining whether Iraq moves towards stability or further violence.

Guterres is on the second day of a visit to Iraq, after meeting top officials, including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, on Thursday.

As he began his visit in Baghdad, Guterres called for the protection of civilians to be the "absolute priority," after the battle for Mosul resulted in numerous civilian deaths and widespread privation.

- Deadly toll on civilians -

The UN said earlier this month that some 600,000 civilians were still in west Mosul, 400,000 of them trapped in siege-like conditions in the Old City.

Remaining in the city has posed deadly danger to residents, with the UN human rights office saying more than 300 civilians were killed in west Mosul in little over a month.

Gunfire, shelling, bombs and air strikes have all taken their toll.

The Iraqi government has sought to blame the jihadists for the deaths.

Spokesman Colonel Joe Scrocca too accused IS of attempting to bait the US-led coalition supporting the operation into carrying out strikes that would kill civilians in order "to take advantage of the public outcry and the terror."

Scrocca said the number of jihadists remaining in Mosul had fallen significantly since Iraqi forces launched the operation to retake the west of the city last month, down from an estimated 2,000 to less than half that now.

Iraqi authorities say more than 200,000 civilians have fled the fighting since mid-February.

UN chief Antonio Guterres calls for more aid for the people of Mosul in a speech on March 31, 2017 at the Hasan Sham Camp for Iraqis displaced by the battle for the second city

Camps have been set up around the city to provide shelter for the displaced, while others are staying with relatives, renting accommodation or residing in makeshift shelters or unfinished buildings.

IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes have since regained much of the territory they lost.

Iraqi forces launched the operation to retake Mosul in October, retaking its east side in January before setting their sites on the smaller but more densely populated west.

The fighting has inflicted heavy casualties on the Iraqi security forces, according to the head of US Central Command, General Joseph Votel.

Votel told a congressional committee that 490 Iraqi security personnel were killed and more than 3,000 wounded in the battle for east Mosul, while 284 have been killed and more than 1,600 wounded in fighting for the west.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/ar ... Mosul.html
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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:40 pm

Belgium probes Mosul air strikes that killed civilians

Belgium has opened an investigation into the suspected involvement of Belgian fighter jets in air strikes in west Mosul that killed dozens of civilians, prosecutors said on Friday.

Iraqi authorities believe more than 130 civilians were killed in strikes over several days in Mosul's al-Jadida area, and attention has focused on one particularly deadly attack on March 17. Other estimates say as many as 400 people may have died.

"We have opened a preliminary investigation to establish ... whether all procedures were observed during two incidents," prosecutors' spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt told AFP news agency.

"If rules of engagement were properly observed ... it is possible that no crime was committed," Van Der Sypt said.

Belgian MP Wouter De Vriendt told Flemish broadcaster VRT the case involved strikes carried out by Belgian F16 fighter jets on March 17.

The US-led coalition had previously said it carried out a strike on March 17 in an area of west Mosul in which civilian casualties were reported, and it had opened an investigation.

Iraq says 200 bodies pulled from rubble in Mosul

Belgium takes part in the US-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, which has conducted tens of thousands of air strikes against the fighters in Iraq and Syria.

The coalition insists ISIL has targeted civilians and used them as human shields, while acknowledging air strikes by anti-ISIL forces have also left civilians dead.

The United States carries out most Iraq air operations, but Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, the Netherlands, and Britain also carry out missions.

General Stephen Townsend, the senior US commander in Iraq, said this week a coalition strike in the northern city earlier this month "probably" killed dozens of civilians.

US investigators are also looking at the apparent bombing of a school in Mansura near Raqqa, Syria on March 21, and a building next to a mosque on March 16 in al-Jineh, in Aleppo province.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/03/b ... 45418.html
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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:39 pm

Resentment festers in Mosul: just ask Saddam Hussein

If you want to hear the resentment people of Mosul feel now that Iraqi forces have driven Islamic State out of most of the city, you should talk to Saddam Hussein.

Not the dictator, but the Mosul schoolteacher, who proudly shows off an identity card bearing the name which his parents gave him in the ruler's honour 45 years ago, and which he passed on to his sons.

The original Saddam, a Sunni Muslim who was toppled in a U.S.-led invasion in 2003 and hanged three years later on an Iraqi army base for crimes against humanity, is a hate figure to the Shi'ites who make up the majority of Iraqis, violently repressed under his rule.

But here in Mosul, where most people are Sunnis who feel disrespected by the authorities in Baghdad, he is still beloved, just one example of the many ways in which the local narrative veers sharply from that of most of the rest of the country.

"My name is Saddam and all three of my sons are called Saddam, because I love him," said the teacher. "Saddam was the best leader Iraq has ever had."

When Islamic State fighters swept into Mosul in 2014, supporters of the ousted leader were among those who welcomed the Sunni militants as protectors against the Shi'ite authorities. A group of ex-Saddam era military officers pledged support for the Islamic State caliphate.

Most residents of Mosul turned against the militants during their two years of harsh rule, and the teacher said he never supported them. But few here trust the central authorities that have now returned.

The teacher lost his salary under Islamic State when Baghdad stopped sending money to pay wages of government workers in territory held by the militants. Like many in Mosul, he is now embroiled in a long vetting process to get back on the payroll, which he considers discriminatory and unfair.

When fighting reached his district, he fled with his family to a U.N. camp. He has now come back to his old home, but the landlord is evicting him. With no salary, he has no way to pay rent. The family will soon be homeless, with nowhere to go but back to the camp.

"I have lost everything. I can't feed my family anymore," he said. "I can't pay my rent anymore but I don't want to move with my family to a camp again. I'm really tired of this life."

SLOGANS

The biggest land battle in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, the battle to free Mosul of Islamic State is now in its seventh month. Much of the city has been fully under government control since late last year, yet there is no water and no electricity.

The authorities have put up new billboards with pictures of the city's landmarks or the Tigris river, and messages such as: "Dear citizens, we urge you to get back to your daily life."

But beneath them, the walls bear Shi'ite religious slogans spray painted by government troops, which Sunni residents say makes them feel like they are living under occupation.

"Politics are dominated by sectarian and political groups," said Wael Faisal, an electronics seller, referring to the graffiti. "We haven't any development projects from Baghdad in Mosul since 2003."

With salaries still going unpaid, families are forced to beg for food at mosques. More than 100 former state prison workers gathered in eastern Mosul on Wednesday complaining they had not been paid for up to six months.

"We have no water and power. This is the political corruption we have been suffering from," said Faisal.

Many now say that the conditions will create the breeding ground for yet another radical group in Mosul, which became a centre for the Sunni insurgency after the U.S.-led invasion.

"I think the future will be worse because the central government will again not care about Mosul," said Farnas Talib, a light bulb shop owner in eastern Mosul, which was declared "fully liberated" in January.

"What is Daesh?" he said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State. "Daesh came because of a lack of interest from Baghdad in Mosul. Unless this changes there will be another group, with a different name, different people, maybe no beards."

An aide to the governor of the Nineveh province of which Mosul is the capital said authorities were working non-stop.

"We have restarted power in some areas for some hours and it will gradually improve further," he said. "We are also restoring water, but some parts of the system got damaged."

"We are working day and night to serve citizens but our possibilities are limited because support from Baghdad is very limited. We need more support," he said.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuter ... ssein.html
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