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MOSCOW, October 18. /TASS/. Accusations in connection with Russia’s actions in Syria are designed to divert the world community’s attention from the consequences of the assault on Mosul carried out with the support of the US-led coalition, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the Rossiya 1 TV channel on Tuesday.
"Perhaps, all this information campaign against the Russian Federation, which has evolved over the past few weeks, was the forerunner of what is to be done with regard to Mosul. After all, a full-scale humanitarian disaster is looming there," she said.
Zakharova expressed doubt that it had been figured out where refugees would be going. "The area that is around is, in actual fact, scorched earth. We know who scorched it. Who will assume responsibility for the civilian population, which will just want to leave this place?" she added.
A military operation to liberate the Iraqi city of Mosul began in the morning on October 17. In addition to Iraqi government forces, it involves Kurdish units and the international anti-terrorist coalition. Mosul - Iraq’s second largest city with an estimated population of 1.3 million people - has been under the control of the Islamic State terrorist organization (outlawed in Russia) for more than two years.