MOSCOW, July 6. /TASS/. Russia voices strong support for the Iraqi authorities’ steps on fighting terrorists in the country, Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday, commenting on the liberation of Mosul.
"Russia decisively backs the steps of Iraq’s authorities on eliminating the hotspot of international terrorism in Iraq and restoring the sovereignty over its entire territory," the diplomat said, noting that the operation, which has lasted for around nine months, "seems to come to a logical end."
On Wednesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi congratulated Iraq’s Armed Forces on their success in the fight against terrorists of the Islamic State group (outlawed in Russia).
According to Zakharova, the situation in the liberated areas in Iraq remains challenging "despite the efforts of Iraq’s authorities on normalizing life there." "Sometimes terrorists carry out raids, involving suicide bombers, in particular under the guise of refugees."
The diplomat also stressed that bloody battles are ongoing in Mosul and the IS terrorists still control a part of the old city, which is around 1 square kilometer, and some 50,000 citizens have been boxed in there and used by terrorists as a human shield, and attempts to flee the surrounded areas are harshly curbed.
Russia is seriously concerned over the humanitarian situation for citizens in Mosul, Zakharova noted.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 800,000 citizens had left Mosul and 200,000 people were able to come back to find out that their homes had been destroyed by indiscriminate shellings and airstrikes carried out by the US-led coalition. International humanitarian organizations say the Iraqi citizens suffer from the lack of food and medicines and also pure drinking water, and this could result in the outbreaks of epidemics during the summer.
However, Western mass media reports about Mosul are too sanitized and optimistic, Zakharova noted. These reports cover the battles "without details and photos of the suffering, wounded and killed children," she said.