‘Time to sound the alarm bells’ as Mosul plight has ‘escalated to the limit,’ Moscow says
  • Displaced Iraqi people receive aid as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants in Mosul, at Hammam al-Alil camp, Iraq March 23, 2017. © Khalid al Mousily
  • Reuters

‘Time to sound the alarm bells’ as Mosul plight has ‘escalated to the limit,’ Moscow says

The humanitarian plight of war-torn Mosul has “escalated to the limit,” with the Iraqi president comparing it to a “full-on catastrophe,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.

“It’s time to toll the alarm bells,” the official added.

“The Mosul humanitarian situation has escalated to the limit. The Iraqi president has compared it with a full-on catastrophe,” Zakharova said.

The city “is running out of essential food and medical supplies,” with “experts warning about a threat of mass famine if the assault on the city lasts longer.”

So far, it seems like such a turn of events is highly likely, Zakharova said, adding that the Iraqi forces’ advance has seen little success and become bogged down in intense city battles.

Another frequently-voiced danger for the locals is the US-led coalition’s airstrikes targeting residential areas.

“With such population density, what kind of pinpoint strikes are our Western partners talking about?” Zakharova asked.

Earlier, the High Commissioner’s Office (OHCHR) and the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) said that at least 307 people were killed in the war-stricken city between February 17 and March 22. Also, between March 23 and 26, around 95 civilians were killed in Mosul neighborhoods, the UN added, citing reports. It is not yet clear if the UN included the casualties from the March 17 incident in the death toll. 

The Russian official’s concerns have been echoed by Katharina Ritz, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Iraq.

“The concern for us is that the highest standard should be maintained when it comes to protecting the civilian population in any conflict, in any area. To have military warfare in densely populated areas in western Mosul, precautions and care need to be the priority,” she told RT.