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Oxfam Fears Over a Million Civilians Still in Firing Line in Exodus From Mosul

Sputnik News

16:59 18.12.2016(updated 17:09 18.12.2016)

The US-led coalition in Iraq needs to do more to establish safe routes out of Mosul for more than a million civilians still trapped there and stop shelling residential areas with heavy weapons, Kai Tabacek, Oxfam's digital press officer who works for the humanitarian organization in Mosul, told Sputnik on Sunday.

EDINBURGH (Sputnik) – Last Wednesday, the US military confirmed it had deliberately targeted the building which was allegedly being used by the Daesh to direct fire against coalition forces.

"We are concerned about any reports of civilians being killed or harmed in this conflict. We believe genuinely safe routes must be provided so that civilians who want to can escape the fighting and get to the shelter and help they need. All sides in the conflict should avoid the use of heavy weapons in built-up and populated areas and this includes artillery barrages," Tabacek said.

Tabecek, who has recently returned from work in Mosul, added that the humanitarian relief organization is calling on the US-led coalition to stop using artillery in civilian areas of the besieged city.

"We are still very concerned for more than a million people still living in Mosul and it's vital that all military forces continue to provide genuinely safe escape routes for civilians," Tabecek stressed.

The humanitarian worker noted that tens of thousands of people have already left the city to avoid the conflict, with many living in sub-standard shelters.

The assault on Mosul is expected to take several months to complete and is aimed at ending Daesh control.

Mosul has been occupied by the Daesh, which is a terror group outlawed in Russia and many other countries, in June 2014. The US-supported Iraqi assault on the city has been ongoing since October 17. The Iraqi army and anti-terrorist units are storming Mosul from the northern and eastern flank, while the federal police are approaching the city from the east.

A number of international organizations have voiced concerns over the fate of the civilians either displaced or trapped by the offensive.

A number of reports of airstrikes and shelling resulting in civilian casualties emerged throughout the two-month battle for Mosul. In November, Human Rights Watch said an airstrike by the US-led coalition had destroyed half of a clinic in south Mosul the month before, killing eight civilians along with three Daesh fighters.


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