United Nations chief in Iraq backs fight against Islamic State group


31 March, 2017

The attack came as US-backed forces are launching fierce fighting in western Mosul.

He called on Iraq's leaders to build "a State in which all communities respect each other and reconciliation becomes something natural", according to a United Nations statement.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrived in Iraq on Thursday to assess the humanitarian situation in the country amid the ongoing fight of the government army against Daesh, outlawed in Russian Federation and many other states worldwide.

"Iraq needs a plan similar to Marshall Plan to assist the people of Iraq and to support development to overcome impacts of the war against terrorist gangs", the statement added.

Widespread displacement is another issue, with Iraqi authorities saying that more than 200,000 people have fled west Mosul since February.

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Officials and witnesses say that airstrikes during the operation to take the western part of the city, which started last month, have also taken a devastating toll on civilians who have remained.

The UN said earlier this month that some 600,000 civilians were still in west Mosul, with 400,000 of them trapped in the Old City, a maze of narrow lanes that is making it hard for the Iraqi forces to avoid close combat with the extremists.

At least 15 people have been killed in a suicide auto bomb attack on a police checkpoint in Iraq's capital Baghdad, officials say. The U.S. -led coalition says a strike in western Mosul on March 17 likely resulted in civilian casualties and is investigating the incident. "The situation is very good and the Iraqi air force is doing well".

Votel told a congressional committee that 490 Iraqi security personnel were killed and more than 3,000 wounded in the battle for east Mosul, while 284 have been killed and more than 1,600 wounded in fighting for the west.

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