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When Will the People of Mosul Feel Safe Again?

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Message Firas Samuri

The government forces of Syria and Iraq continue to fight against terror groups under support of their allies. Russian Air Force assists the Syrian army, and the International Coalition headed by the U.S. is 'cooperating' with the armed forces of Iraq.

It should be mentioned that the liberation of Aleppo from Jabhat al-Nusra's terrorists by the Syrian army units last December became a tipping point in the Syrian war. Then the Syrian government has taken all possible measures to safely evacuate all of the civilians from the western neighborhoods of the city. The humanitarian pauses have been introduced and thousands of people left the city through humanitarian corridors. More than 110,000 civilians have been evacuated from the city, including 44,000 children.

Unfortunately the situation in Iraq is the complete opposite. The locals are facing very difficult condition. On the one hand, they are threatened by ISIS terrorists who placed their positions in residential areas in the vicinity of schools and hospitals. In addition, the terrorists use the civilian population as a human shield. On the other hand, the advance of the Iraqi army under support of International Coalition bombers, which frequently carry out indiscriminant attacks on the residential neighborhoods. As a result of the U.S. air raids dozens of civilians die 'by mistake'.

According to the official figures, 220 people have been killed by the International Coalition strikes in Iraq and Syria since 2014. It's obvious that the coalition intentionally hides the real number of victims in order to avoid criticism by international human rights organizations.

The situation in Mosul can only be described as a humanitarian catastrophe. There are still more than 750,000 civilians in the western neighborhoods of Mosul, who have nowhere to run. The refugee camps are currently overflowing. The representative of the International Organization for Migration in Iraq Hala Jaber stated that in the near future a refugee camp for 60 thousand people should be set up in the area of the Qayyarah airbase. However even the organization of this camp won't be enough to save all those in need.

In addition, when the Mosul-Raqqa highway was blocked last year, the city was left without humanitarian and commercial supplies. The citizens of western Mosul reported that almost half of local grocery stores closed and bakeries can't afford flour because of high prices. Due to the destruction of sewage facilities the local people desperately lack drinking water.
Reporting the situation in Mosul the Western media prefer not to cover the problems of the local population, who are forced to flee the war, and keep silent about the deaths of civilians from the hands of terrorists.

When the city of Aleppo was liberated in the end of last year, the situation was completely different. Although the local citizens were leaving their homes via humanitarian corridors organized by the Syrian military, the media dubbed this situation as a 'humanitarian catastrophe' and blamed the Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Hence a question arises: what hindered the Iraqi authorities and the International coalition from organizing humanitarian pauses for withdrawal of civilians from the besieged city similarly to what the Syrian government had done?

It seems that the Western countries remain indifferent to the destiny of the civilians of Mosul, who have to hide in basements hoping that they won't be found by terrorists or be 'mistakenly' bombed by the US jets. Only a miracle could save them and bring them back to safety.

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Freelance journalist working with Inside Syria Media Center. I'm especially interested in Syrian crisis.
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