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Russian diplomat says redirecting militants from Mosul to Syria is counter-productive

Russia is ready to consider humanitarian aid to Iraq if official request comes, the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman says

MOSCOW, October 20 /TASS/. Moscow considers the idea of redirecting Islamic State militants from Mosul to Syria to be counter-productive, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

The diplomat added that on October 17 Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had announced the start of a military operation to liberate Mosul, which is the stronghold of IS militants in Iraq.

"We support resolute steps aimed at fighting terrorism. We also state the importance of taking measures, when a full-scale operation is under way in a city with a population of 1.5 million people, to protect the remaining civilian population and help the people who want to leave," Zakharova stressed.

"We believe it’s going to be counter-productive to redirect the IS militants entrenched in Mosul to Syria. It is a crime," the diplomat stressed.

"This policy is openly hypocritical. It is eroding the basis for coordinated and uncompromising struggle against international terrorism," Zakharova stressed.

Humanitarian aid

According to Zakharova, Russia will consider the issue of humanitarian aid to Iraq if it receives an official request.

"As for humanitarian aid for residents of this country, we of course understand unquestionable topicality of this task, this situation at the moment," the diplomat said. "If the Russian side receives an official request to this respect, we will be ready to look into it," Zakharova added.