Iraqi military denies halting operation to free western Mosul

March 25, 2017 2:31 pm

Members of Iraqi
government forces get ready before they advance towards the Old City in
western on March 24, 2017, during an offensive to retake the city
from Takfiri Daesh terrorists. (Photo by AFP)

The Iraqi has denied
that its forces, backed by fighters from allied Popular Mobilization
Units, have ceased their joint operations to flush Takfiri Daesh
militants out of their last urban stronghold in the conflict-ridden
country over the high rate of civilian casualties.

The military said on Saturday that the battle continues in Rajm al-Hadid area of western Mosul.
Earlier Reuters quoted an unnamed spokesman of the Iraqi
federal police force as saying, “The recent high death toll among
civilians inside the Old City forced us to halt operations to review our
plans. It’s a time for weighing new offensive plans and tactics. No
combat operations are to go on,” .
The spokesman added, “We need
to make sure that taking out Daesh from the Old City will not cost
unwanted high casualties among civilians. We need surgical accurate
operations to target terrorists without causing collateral damage among
residents.”
The remarks came as an army statement published in the official al-Sabaah
(The Morning) daily newspaper read that future operations in the
embattled western Mosul would be launched by ground troops trained to
fight street battles.
“Our heroic forces are committed to the rules of engagement, which ensure protection of civilians,” the statement said.
Meanwhile,
the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration says more than 200,000
people have fled their homes ever since Iraqi army troops and Hashd
al-Sha’abi fighters launched the battle to recapture densely populated
neighborhoods in western Mosul from Daesh extremists.
The ministry announced in a statement that 201,275 civilians had experienced forced displacement.
Aid agencies say as many as 600,000 civilians remain trapped in the western half of Mosul.
There
are reports that terrified parents fleeing fighting between Iraqi
forces and Daesh in the western side of Mosul drug their children with
sedatives or tape their mouths to avoid discovery as they try to escape.
“Families
often leave at night and in the early hours of the morning and have to
walk with their children. The kids get tired and if they cry it’s very
difficult,” Hala Jaber of the International Organization for Migration
(IOM) said on Thursday.

Displaced
Iraqis from Mosul walk towards refugee camps on March 24, 2017, as
government forces are pushing hard to retake the city from Takfiri Daesh
terrorists. (Photo by AFP)She added, “Families
are sometimes putting duct tape on their children’s mouths or even
giving them Valium or tranquilizers just to keep them quiet so that they
are not found out by Daesh and captured or shot.”
Iraqi army
soldiers and Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters launched their offensive to
retake Mosul last October and since then they have made sweeping gains
against Takfiri elements.
Iraqi forces took control of eastern
Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in
the west on February 19.
Daesh terrorists execute 36 Iraqi civilians in western Mosul
Separately,
members of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group have reportedly executed
more than 30 people in western Mosul as the militants continue to suffer
losses in their battles against Iraqi army soldiers and allied forces.
The
media bureau of Hashd al-Sha’abi said in a statement that Daesh
extremists killed 36 people on Saturday after they slapped charges of
“attempts to cross to the land of infidels” against the victims.
The executions took place while dozens of people were watching. Nobody could do anything to save them.

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