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Russia: US covering up Daesh crimes in Iraq’s Mosul

Iraqi firefighters look for bodies buried under the rubble in Mosul on March 27, 2017, days after a US airstrike. (Photo by Reuters)

Russia has accused Washington of concealing crimes committed by the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the Iraqi city of Mosul, where a US airstrike last month killed hundreds of civilians.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov made the accusation on Sunday, days after US military spokesman Joseph Scrocca said there was a video showing Daesh trying to bait US into killing civilians in Mosul. However, the footage is yet to be released.

"What motives is the US command driven by when they hide the war crimes of terrorists from the international community behind the veil of secrecy?" Konashenkov said. 

"Why does the US-led … coalition, with this information, using their 'smart bombs' still carry out airstrikes on buildings with civilians?" he added.

Iraqi civilians and rescue workers inspect the damage in Mosul's al-Jadida district on March 26, 2017, following a US airstrike days before. (Photo by AFP)

On March 17, the US bombarded a building in Mosul’s western al-Jadida district, where Iraqi forces are fighting against Takfiri elements. Over 200 civilians, including women and children, are believed to have been killed in the aerial assault which caused the building to collapse.

The Pentagon acknowledged in a statement that the US had carried out the fatal attack. However, the US military is said to be conducting an investigation into whether it was US munitions, Daesh explosives or both that caused the building to collapse.

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Elsewhere in his comments, Konashenkov said Washington was seeking to justify mass civilian casualties of its bombing campaign.

“The Pentagon’s absurd statements justifying mass civilian casualties of US bombing in Iraq tell more words about the real level of planning operations and alleged superiority of the US ‘smart bombs,’” he said.

Konashenkov highlighted a crucial difference between US attacks in Mosul and Moscow’s counter-terrorism mission in Aleppo, saying Russia did not use its air force in the liberation of the Syrian city.

“The Russian Aerospace Forces were not used in Aleppo at all. The attention was focused on the work of humanitarian corridors as well as delivering and providing humanitarian aid for local residents," he said.

"In Mosul, according to … Scrocca, despite civilian casualties, the coalition is not going to retreat even when fighting becomes heavy,” Konashenkov added.

The US campaign against purported terrorist targets inside Syria and Iraq, which began in 2014, has led to the death of many civilians without any meaningful achievement.

Earlier this week, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov cast doubt on the sincerity of the US coalition’s anti-terror campaign in Syria.

“One year into the creation of this coalition [in 2014], it was very sporadically using the air force to hit some ISIL (Daesh) positions. They never touched the caravans who were smuggling oil from Syria to Turkey and, in general, they were not really very active,” he said.

“This suspicion is still very much alive these days, when Jabhat al-Nusra already twice changed its name, but it never changed its sponsors who continue to pump money and whatever is necessary for fighting into this structure,” he added.

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