Statement by Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides on protecting civilians during the final stage of the battle of Mosul, Iraq

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European Commission - Statement

Brussels, 20 June 2017

"The fighting in Mosul, Iraq is in its final stage, reaching now the town's densely populated Old City. The European Union supports humanitarian organisations to deliver lifesaving aid for the most in need. These organisations are currently doing all they can to give emergency assistance to the families who manage to flee the city. They provide medical assistance to wounded, protection and education for children, water and food to people weakened by months of deprivation.

Our deepest concern right now are the civilians still trapped inside. Families who survived and managed to leave, recall the horrors of fleeing, risking their life due to ISIL snipers, or remaining in the Old City, facing active shelling and lacking the basics to survive. No father, no mother should ever be forced to take such an impossible decision.

Protecting the lives of tens of thousands civilians is more than ever a necessity for humanity in this conflict. In line with the Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions of 19 June, we urge the Iraqi authorities and all Iraqi forces with the support of the international community to continue to work together and make every effort to protect and assist the children, elderly, civilian women and men, unable to flee the active fighting.

Defeating the scourge of terrorism places an extra responsibility on preserving humanity and protecting civilians in the conduct of war. When the fight is at its toughest phase and however long it might take, we have to work harder.

The EU remains fully committed to supporting the Iraqi people and the authorities at this crucial time. Together, all our efforts must focus on ensuring civilians are protected".

For more information:
Video message: Christos Stylianides on protecting civilians inside Mosul, Iraq
Press Release: EU announces €42.5 million in humanitarian assistance for Iraq