World Bulletin / News Desk
Germany on Monday urged caution during the battle to retake Mosul in northern Iraq to avoid sectarian conflict.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomed the gains against ISIL in the region surrounding the city but called for unity among the diverse population.
“During the liberation of Mosul, any unjust treatment of the civil population should be prevented,” he said at a news conference with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari in Berlin.
“The civil population freed from ISIL should be treated fairly, irrespective of their ethnic or religious origin or membership.”
Mosul and the area around the city is comprised mostly of Arab Sunni Muslims but there are significant numbers of Turkmen, Kurds, Ezidis, Christians and Shia Muslims.
“The agreements made before the offensive for the liberation of Mosul should be honored,” Steinmeier added. “Those groups which are under the influence of foreign interests should be kept away from the central area of the city to the best extent possible.”
His remarks referred to Iran-backed Shia militias who have been implicated in mistreating Sunni civilians in other parts of Iraq liberated from ISIL.
“The central area of the city should be liberated in the end by Iraqi Sunni forces,” the minister said.
The operation to retake Mosul was launched on Oct. 17 with the backing of coalition airpower. The city was overrun by the group in June 2014.Last Mod: 22 Kasım 2016, 01:21