The Shia militias of Iraq fear that the battle for Mosul may become “protracted and devastating” as the anti-terrorist campaign in Aleppo.
Hadi Al-Ameri, one of the leaders of the Shia militias of Iraq, which joined the US-backed campaign to recapture Mosul on Saturday, fears that the battle for the Iraqi city may become “protracted and devastating” as the anti-terrorist campaign in Aleppo, the Reuters news agency reported on Monday.
“We are afraid that Mosul could be another Aleppo, but we hope that will not happen,” Al-Ameri said.
However, journalists of the news agency do not share the fears of the Shia militias. Firstly, according to Reuters, Mosul is held by units of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, which also operates in Syria, but not in Aleppo, where “the eastern districts are held by a different array of forces hostile to President Bashar al-Assad.”
Secondly, the US Department of State also indicated the difference between the situations in Aleppo and Mosul. On October 31, spokesman for the Department, John Kirby, said that “all this is completely different” in Mosul because the US is “concerned about the fate of civilian population” and tries to “protect them,” while the “opposition and civilians suffer the main losses” in Aleppo.
Thirdly, according to the Spiegel magazine, despite intense fighting of the antiterrorist coalition, restful life of civilians, which is not affected by the war, continues in Mosul. However, reports of the German media are based on propaganda videos of the IS terrorist group.
Fourthly, Mosul cannot become the ‘second Aleppo’ also from the opposite point of view – because the number of civilians in the besieged IS capital is five times more than the number of civilian residents in the besieged areas of Aleppo. Many human rights organizations expect that the battle for Mosul may become “the biggest humanitarian catastrophe of the decade.”
On September 30, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Iraq, Bruno Geddo, announced that there are about 1.5 million civilians in Mosul, at least 700,000 of whom may become refugees in ‘short term’. Later, these figures were confirmed by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande. By mid-October, the UN managed to deploy a camp near Mosul just for 60,000 people, but that did not prevent the beginning of a ground operation of the Iraqi Army, the main force of the US-led ‘antiterrorist coalition’.
The fact that the military operation to capture the city has not yet led to a mass escape of civilians shows not that the attackers are “concerned about the fate of civilian population,” but indicates a low-intensity warfare and even a “specific” character of the US war in Iraq, when the propaganda, as may be supposed, completely hides a real situation. According to the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, the coalition has already bombed a school for girls, and only for the first three days of the operation, 60 people were killed and 200 others were wounded by airstrikes of the coalition’s air power.