Saturday, March 04, 2017

Mosul Civilians Suffer From Chemical Weapons, ISIS Mortars
By Rudaw

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Civilians continue to be heavily victimized by ISIS in the battle to oust the extremist group from Mosul. At least 12 people have been admitted to hospital with symptoms indicating they were exposed to toxins from chemical weapons, while militants fire a barrage of indiscriminate mortars into east Mosul every day.

“During the past two days, the hospital has admitted five children and two women showing clinical symptoms consistent with an exposure to a blistering chemical agent,” Robert Mardini, Middle East director for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said in a statement published by the organization on Friday.

The ICRC subsequently tweeted that a total of 12 people had been admitted with similar symptoms to Rozhawa hospital near Mosul.
ISIS has used chemical weapons on several occasions, including against Peshmerga forces. The group was developing the weapons in the chemistry labs of Mosul University, Iraqi special forces discovered when they retook the campus in eastern Mosul earlier this year.

Eastern Mosul was declared liberated from ISIS on January 24, but security in that half of the city remains a major concern.

“I know that they fire mortars more than 200 times a day into east Mosul, and this is intended to harm civilians,” coalition spokesperson Col. John Dorrian told Rudaw TV on Friday, referring to ISIS militants in west Mosul. “This is a typical tactic for the enemy.”

Some 3,000 civilians from eastern Mosul flee to the Kurdistan Region every week, Hoshang Mohamed, head of the Kurdish government’s Joint Crisis Coordination Centre, told Rudaw on Thursday.

The displaced persons report escalating security concerns, including selective killings, arrests, disappearances, and looting in east Mosul, as well as lack of food.

Numbers of people being displaced are at record high levels, with some 4,000 fleeing on a daily basis, the UN reported on Thursday.

“In the last few days, sizeable numbers have begun fleeing worsening security conditions and a dire humanitarian situation in west Mosul,” Bruno Geddo, the UN’s refugee agency’s representative in Iraq, said in a published statement on Thursday.  “We remain concerned for the safety of civilians and urge the authorities to ensure safe passage for all those fleeing.”

Iraqi forces retook control of the Wadi Hajar neighbourhood of west Mosul on Friday. 

No comments: