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UN asks Abadi to guarantee protection for civilians in Mosul

Iraqi forces stand on their BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles as they hold a position in the village of Jarif, some 45 kilometers south of Mosul, on November 12, 2016, after retaking it from Daesh terrorists. (Photo by AFP)

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) has called on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to adopt effective measures to protect civilians in Mosul as Iraqi forces battle to retake the northern city from Daesh terrorists.

The UNAMI Human Rights Office said on Saturday that it has documented serious crimes and atrocities being perpetrated by Daesh terrorists against Mosul residents in the form of disappearance, murder, restrictions on the free movement of people, rape and sexual slavery in addition to the use of boys as young as 11 in the armed conflict, Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network reported.

The UN mission noted that the Baghdad government must take procedures and measures, which are meant to defend civilians and place humanitarian interests on a higher priority than military ones.

The UN mission also praised orders by Abadi and President of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Masoud Barzani concerning the protection of civilians during the Mosul operation, stressing that its staffers are investigating sporadic cases of mistreatment by Iraqi forces and allied fighters towards civilians.

Earlier on October 21, Iraq's most prominent Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urged army soldiers and volunteer fighters to protect civilians trapped in Daesh-held Mosul, located 400 kilometers north of the capital, Baghdad.

Meanwhile, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, the spokesman for the Iraqi Joint Military Command (JOC), said soldiers from the 9th Armored Division plus the Third Brigade of the First Division have killed and wounded 30 Daesh terrorist during Saturday’s offensive to liberate Mosul’s eastern neighborhood of Salam. 

A local source, requesting anonymity, also said 20 internally displaced people have sustained injuries as Daesh extremists struck their gathering in eastern Mosul.

Soldiers from the Iraqi Special Forces 2nd division run to take up positions as forces engage Daesh terrorists pushing through the Samah area and into Arabjiyah neighborhood of eastern Mosul on November 11, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The commander of Nineveh Liberation Operation, General Abdul Amir Rashid Yarallah, also announced that Iraqi counter-terrorism forces had established control over Arabjiyah and Qadisiyah al-Thaniyah areas in eastern Mosul. He added that tens of Daesh terrorists had been killed in the process.

Iraqi forces thwart six Daesh bomb attacks in eastern Mosul

Additionally, Iraqi armed forces on Saturday thwarted six bomb attacks by the Daesh terrorist group in an eastern neighborhood of Mosul.

An unnamed security source said the militants were trying to regain control over al-Zahra district, which government forces had liberated two days earlier.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) announced on Friday that Daesh terrorists had executed more than 60 civilians in Mosul over the past few days.

On Thursday, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the number of internally displaced people in the wake of Mosul military operations had gone beyond 45,000.

Iraqi army soldiers, backed by pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, launched an operation on October 17 to retake Mosul from Daesh terrorists.

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