Kirkuk- Irbil- Paris – Trapped by ultra-hardline ISIS terrorists, the people of Mosul find themselves not only under siege but also victim to fire of Iraqi forces. Senior tribal sources revealed that a number of random missiles have reportedly been fired on civilian neighborhoods since the launch of the offensive to free Mosul on Oct.17.
Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Davis told reporters on Tuesday that ISIS hardliners are trapping Mosul’s civilians to later on use them as human shields.
Senior Iraqi tribal leader Fahran Hawas al Sadeed says that the Popular Mobilization Forces have taken up positions across Mosul’s outskirts and are responsible for the indiscriminate missiles fired on civilian areas.
“We no longer trust any taskforce fighting on behalf of the Iraq government, especially after PMF militias have slipped by the federal police, elite taskforces and army forces,” said al Sadeed.
PMF militias insist on partake in military campaign to free Mosul amid wide public rejection. The people of Mosul have repeatedly expressed their refusal towards PMF gunmen participating in the operation to rid their land from ISIS dominance. PMF forces are government-backed paramilitary forces largely composed of Shi’ite gunmen who also receive Iranian support.
The involvement of Shi’ite militias is resented because of fears on it resulting in sectarian war post liberation. PMF militiamen are notorious for being highly bigoted and committing civil and human rights violations.
More so, Paris will be hosting an international meeting to discuss Mosul’s post-liberation outlook. Twenty countries are expected to show up at the session.
Iran has not received an invitation to attend the Paris meeting — diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the preliminary conditions for its attendance have not been met.
“We must anticipate, plan for the ‘day after’, and the stabilisation of Mosul after the military battle,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Tuesday, adding that Iran, which wields substantial influence in Iraq, was not invited to the talks.
“We must win the war but also look at everything that will enable us to win the peace,” he said.
The French foreign minister said the international coalition fighting ISIS also had a “responsibility” to retake Raqqa, in Syria, which would be the last major city in either country under the group’s control if Mosul falls.
“Not to go on to Raqqa would be a bad mistake,” Ayrault told reporters.
“If we want to fight effectively against terrorism, it is essential to take this city.”
The long-awaited offensive on Mosul was launched on Monday, with some 30,000 forces involved in Iraq’s largest military operation since the pullout of U.S. troops in 2011.
The U.S. military, which is leading a coalition providing air and ground support, said Iraqi forces looked “ahead of schedule” but warned the battle would be long and difficult.