MOSCOW, March 28. /TASS/. Terrorists are suffering a major defeat in Iraq’s theater of war, where the tide has turned, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday answering the questions from Argumenty i fakty newspaper subscribers.
Iraq is being dragged into a long-running internal conflict amid confrontation with the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia). The split between Sunni and Shia Muslims, provoked by some forces, including outside ones, remains a "destabilizing factor," Lavrov noted, adding that the "Kurdish factor demands special attention."
"However, the tide has turned in the Iraqi theater of war," Russia’s top diplomat stressed. "In military terms, ‘the caliphate’ is suffering a defeat. At present, an operation is underway to eliminate the Islamic State’s Iraqi stronghold in Mosul," he said.
The city is being stormed by Iraq’s military forces, while the US-led coalition provides fire support to them. "It is hardly possible to compare these steps to the ‘surgical strikes’ that led to numerous civilian deaths and destroyed local infrastructure," Lavrov noted.
"Everyone remembers how Western countries and mass media outlets controlled by them reacted to the situation in Syria’s Aleppo," the foreign minister pointed out. "At the same time, they continue glossing over the humanitarian situation in Mosul, hushing up the scale of the situation." Some 400,000 citizens fled the Iraqi city amid the fierce fighting.
Moscow is convinced that "without unified efforts by the international community it is impossible to effectively fight international terrorism, which poses an unprecedented challenge to mankind," Russia’s top diplomat stressed.
Lavrov noted that the initiative put forward by Russian President Vladimir Putin on setting up a broad anti-terrorist front based on international law is aimed at reaching this goal."