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Evacuation from Mosul poorly organized, Lavrov says

July 11, 2017, 14:37 UTC+3

Russia's top diplomat warned that this will lead to an increase in the number of casualties

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Iraqi civilians sit inside a house as they wait to be taken out of the Old City during fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants in Mosul

Iraqi civilians sit inside a house as they wait to be taken out of the Old City during fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants in Mosul

© AP Photo/Felipe Dana

MAUERBACH /Austria/, July 11. /TASS/. No conditions for an organized evacuation of civilians from Iraq’s Mosul have been created, that will lead to an increase in the number of casualties, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Tuesday.

Commenting on Amnesty International reports, which said that thousands of civilians could have died in Mosul fighting, he noted that the coverage of Mosul’s liberation by the Western media is reminiscent of how "our Western counterparts and some media outlets covered the operation to recapture East Aleppo."

"There was sheer hysteria because civilians allegedly suffered the most," the minister noted. "There was hysteria over the fact that we, in collaboration with the Syrian army and our Turkish and Iranian partners set up the corridors for the evacuation of civilians from East Aleppo and for the evacuation of the militants who were prepared to do that. We were accused of ethnic cleansing."

"However, the fact that many residents are now returning to Aleppo is completely ignored by our Western counterparts, they prefer to turn to a blind eye to that," Russia’s top diplomat went on to say. They also prefer to ignore the fact that, when the operation to liberate Aleppo was underway, they demanded liberally every day opening East Aleppo for humanitarian convoys passage, as, they claimed, there were neither medicines nor medical supplies nor medical equipment there. After East Aleppo was recaptured, representatives of the World Health Organization visited that part of the city and found warehouses with huge supplies of medicines and everything that is necessary for health care."

This being so, Moscow formally asked the UN to explain why representatives of the organization responsible for humanitarian issues were unaware of the fact that the situation was totally different when this hysteria was gaining momentum, Lavrov noted. "We will seek explanations, because this has not happened to date," the minister emphasized.

"As for Mosul, no conditions have been created to evacuate civilians in an orderly manner," Russia’s top diplomat said. "All that was chaotic and spontaneous. When things happen in such an unexpected form, that adds to inconvenience, and possibly, the number of casualties."

"We are certainly glad that the ISIL [former name of the Islamic State, IS, terror group, outlawed in Russia] will be defeated," the Russian minister said. "Perhaps, the price that will be paid for the victory over terrorism will be high anyway. However, in that case one should not pose as a righteous person and stop worrying about a speck in somebody else’s eye when you have a log in your own."

Liberation of Mosul

Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi armed forces, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi earlier officially announced the final victory over the Islamic State in Mosul. The campaign to drive extremists out of the city that was controlled by militants for more than three years began last October. In June, the Iraqi command announced the beginning of the offensive against the last IS fortifications in the historical part of Mosul.

The Iraqi army’s special forces, federal police, rapid response force and the Iraqi armed forces were involved in the operation. Air support was provided by the US-led international coalition and government air force.

The Amnesty International human rights organization presented a study of events that took place in that Iraqi city from January to mid-May in its report made public on Tuesday. According to the organization, the Islamic State used human shields in the area, killing hundreds, and maybe, even thousands of civilians in total.

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