World diplo­mats seek post-bat­tle plan for IS bas­tion Mo­sul

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

PARIS (AP): IRAQ’S PRIME min­is­ter vowed yes­ter­day to pro­tect civil­ians flee­ing the bat­tle to oust Is­lamic State ex­trem­ists from Mo­sul, as the of­fen­sive picked up speed and diplo­mats worked to en­sure the gains are last­ing – and that ji­hadists don’t es­cape.

French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande, host­ing a con­fer­ence on sta­bil­is­ing Mo­sul, urged the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity not to aban­don the city once the mul­ti­pronged mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion is over. Diplo­mats from the US, Iraq and some 20 other coun­tries gath­ered in Paris to de­vise a plan to pro­tect civil­ians, dis­trib­ute aid and ad­dress ques­tions about gov­ern­ing ar­eas newly lib­er­ated from IS.

The of­fen­sive for Mo­sul – Iraq’s sec­ond-largest city and the big­gest IS-held city – is ex­pected to take weeks, if not months. There are fears it could un­leash sec­tar­ian ten­sions and threaten civil­ians in a re­gion rav­aged by years of vi­o­lence.

Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Haider AlAbadi A Kur­dish Pesh­merga sol­dier cov­ers his ears as Yu­nis Abrur­rah­man, 26, gets ready to fire an ar­tillery round on Is­lamic State po­si­tions in Nawaran, some 20 kilo­me­tres north­east of Mo­sul, Iraq, yes­ter­day. Pesh­merga are launch­ing an of­fen­sive to take the vil­lages on the Nawaran moun­tain, pulling closer to the city of Mo­sul. said yes­ter­day that Mo­sul may fall sooner than ex­pected.

“The fight­ing forces are cur­rently push­ing for­ward to­ward the town more quickly than we thought, and more quickly cer­tainly than we es­tab­lished in our plan of cam­paign,” he told the Paris con­fer­ence via video trans­mis­sion.

MANY TO FLEE

French For­eign Min­is­ter JeanMarc Ayrault warned that up to a mil­lion peo­ple might try to flee Mo­sul, and said au­thor­i­ties must check each one to en­sure ex­trem­ists are not among them.

Ayrault also said the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity must think about the next step – no­tably, what do about the IS strong­hold of Raqqa in Syria.

As the Mo­sul fight­ing in­ten­si­fies, Al-Abadi said the Iraqi govern­ment is “pro­vid­ing sup­port for in­ter­nally dis­placed peo­ple,” and open­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian cor­ri­dors amid the on­go­ing mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions.

“We will not al­low any vi­o­la­tions of hu­man rights,” he said.

AP

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