Saudis and US Accused of Letting ISIS Fighters Escape Mosul to Fight in Syria
October 21, 2016
RT News & Jon Lockett / The Sun
French President Francois Hollande has expressed concern that Islamic State militants are being allowed to flee the Iraqi city of Mosul and are traveling to the group's Syrian stronghold, Raqqa. The US and Saudi Arabia reportedly have secretly agreed to grant free passage to around 9,000 Islamic State militants before the Iraqi city of Mosul is stormed. Under the rumored deal, the jihadists have agreed to be redeployed to fight inside Syria in opposition to the Assad government at its Russian support forces.
'ISIS Terrorists Fleeing Mosul for Syria's Raqqa'
French President Hollande Echoes Russian Concern
(October 20, 2016) -- Islamic State militants are fleeing the battle for the Iraqi city of Mosul and are traveling to the group's Syrian stronghold, Raqqa, French President Francois Hollande said. Ahead of the Mosul operation, Russia warned of the relocation of jihadists to Syria. "We can't afford mistakes in pursuit of terrorists, who are already fleeing Mosul for Raqqa," Hollande is cited as saying by Agence France-Presse.
The French leader was speaking in Paris at a meeting of top officials from more than 20 members of the US-led coalition, aimed at working out a stabilization plan for Mosul.
The battle for the strategic Iraqi city, which was held by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) since 2014, began on Sunday and has since intensified. The Iraqi military and US-led coalition said that the operation to retake Mosul may take weeks or even months.
Late on Thursday, the Iraqi military said it had captured the town of Bartella, situated some 15 kilometers from Mosul. Lieutenant-General Talib Shaghati called the liberation of the town an "important" achievement for the operation, PressTV reported.
"Everything must be done to ensure the safety of civilian populations, now residing in combat areas and used as human shields by Daesh [Arabic pejorative term for IS]," Hollande said, adding that anti-IS forces must act "in full respect of human rights and international humanitarian law."
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) estimates that up to 1 million civilians may be displaced due to the fighting. According to the International Organization for Migration, around 5,640 people had to flee their homes in Mosul in the last three days, with the majority leaving in the last 24 hours.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault urged for the de facto Islamic State capital, Raqqa, to become the next target of the international forces.
"It's obvious that after Mosul an offensive with similar perspectives must be prepared in Raqqa," he said at a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart in Paris. According to Ayrault, the battle for Mosul is decisive both militarily and ideologically because it's about "stabbing Islamic State in its very heart."
Also on Thursday, Russia's General Staff expressed hope that the US-led coalition would cut off all escape routes for the terrorists in Mosul.
"We hope that our partners from the international coalition realize what the consequences would be of having bands freely roaming around the Middle East. Terrorists should be destroyed on sight, not chased from one country to another," said Army General Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia's General Staff.
Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Mosul wasn't fully encircled by the Iraqi forces and the coalition, warning that this "corridor poses a risk that Islamic State fighters could flee from Mosul and go to Syria."
Earlier, RIA Novosti cited a Russian military-diplomatic source as saying that the US and Saudi Arabia have agreed to grant free passage from Mosul to thousands of IS militants.
"More than 9,000 Islamic State militants will be redeployed from Mosul to the eastern regions of Syria to carry out a major offensive operation, which involves capturing Deir ez-Zor and Palmyra," the source said.
European Union officials have also expressed concern that the jihadists, escaping Mosul, would return to Europe and carry out terrorist attacks.
US, Saudis To Grant 9,000 ISIS Fighters
Free Passage from Iraqi Mosul to Syria
(October 12, 2016) -- The US and Saudi Arabia have agreed to grant free passage to thousands of Islamic State militants before the Iraqi city of Mosul is stormed. The jihadists will be redeployed to fight against the government in Syria, a military-diplomatic source told RIA Novosti.
"More than 9,000 Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS, ISIL) militants will be redeployed from Mosul to the eastern regions of Syria to carry out a major offensive operation, which involves capturing Deir ez-Zor and Palmyra," the source said.
According to the anonymous diplomatic source, US President Barack Obama has already sanctioned an operation to liberate Mosul, due to take place in October. During the storm of the city in northern Iraq the US-led coalition's planes would only strike detached, vacated or uninhabited buildings, while keeping terrorists as targets, he said.
In September, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter confirmed that Washington would send an additional 600 troops to Iraq to help liberate Mosul at the request of the local authorities.
The source suggested that redeployment of IS militants is necessary because "Washington must somehow counter Russia's achievements in Syria, try to diminish their importance."
"Apart from the purely political dividends, the other purpose of this operation, obviously, will be to discredit the success of Russian Airspace forces. And, of course, it's an attempt to undermine Syrian President (Bashar) Assad," he said.
The leadership of Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Directorate will be the mediators and guarantors of the agreement on safe passage for the jihadists from Mosul, he claimed.
The source added that a similar scheme had been used by the US and its allies during the liberation of the Iraqi city of Fallujah.
Damascus has accused Washington for coordinating with IS after an airstrike against the Syrian government troops near the city of Deir ez-Zor on September 17. Washington said that the bombing, in which 83 soldiers were killed and over 100 injured, was a mistake.
America 'Plotting to Allow 9,000 ISIS Fighters
To Escape Terror Capital Mosul So They Can
Attack Russian Troops', Moscow Outrageously Claims
Claims US 'will let ISIS retreat from Mosul in safety in a secret deal with Saudi Arabia'
Jon Lockett / The Sun
(October 13, 2016) -- Thousands of ISIS fighters are to be given safe passage out of Iraq to fight in Syria, Russian military leaders claim. The jihadi army -- and their families -- will allegedly be let back in to Syria to battle president Bashar al-Assad and his Russian allies. The outrageous claims comes as Britain and the US face criticism for failing to stop Assad's brutal bombing of civilians in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Nearly a thousand US and British troops have been sent to retake Mosul -- the largest city under ISIS control. The RAF and US Air Force are on standby to support any ground attack with major air strikes. But under the supposed agreement -- allegedly brokered by Saudi Arabia -- the US-led coalition will only bomb targets agreed with the militants in advance, reports the Daily Star.
The military source in Moscow told The Star: "In preparation for the operation in Mosul, US intelligence agencies and Saudi Arabia agreed that before the assault all militants will be offered a safe route to leave the city with their families.
Tensions with Russia have reached levels not seen since the Cold War. Vladimir Putin has rattled the US with preparations for nuclear war, including an evacuation drill for 40million people, building secret nuclear bunkers for top brass and ordering politicians families back to 'the motherland'.
"And at the time of the assault, coalition aircraft would only strike empty buildings, agreed in advance with the militants. More than 9,000 ISIS fighters will be transferred to the eastern regions of Syria to follow a major offensive operation, which involves the capture of Deir ez-Zur and Palmyra."
Saudi Arabia has already been accused of supplying funds and arms to ISIS and other Islamic rebel groups fighting Assad. Vladimir Putin has thrown his military might behind pal Assad as long-time ally Syria has hosted Russian bases since the Soviet era -- and gives Russia key access to the Mediterranean.
Russia on Mosul Offensive –
'Don't Chase Terrorists to Other Countries'
(October, 20, 2016) -- The Russian military says it hopes the US-led coalition will not allow Islamic State terrorists holding Mosul to flee the city and go to Syria. It warned the operation is still being monitored.
"Our surveillance spacecraft have been retargeted [at Mosul]. Over a dozen of our surveillance aircraft, including drones, are working in the vicinity," Army General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of Russia's General Staff, said.
The general said that the Russian military are particularly concerned with a scenario, in which militants from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), who are currently holding the Iraqi city, would "try to escape Mosul or be granted safe passage out of it towards Syria."
"We hope that our partners from the international coalition realize, what would be the consequences of having bands freely roaming around the Middle East. Terrorist should be destroyed on sight, not chased from one country to another," Gerasimov said.
The Iraqi government announced an operation to re-take Mosul from IS last Sunday. In addition to the Iraqi regular army, the offensive force includes Kurdish militias and the US-led coalition, which is to provide air support for the ground force. Turkish troops, which were deployed in Iraq against the wishes of Baghdad, will reportedly play a role in the offensive as well.
IS seized Mosul in June of 2014, when it was Iraq's second-largest city. The terrorist group's leader then turned it into a major military stronghold, and it is believed that between 4,000 and 8,000 IS militants are entrenched there.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) estimates that up to 1 million civilians may flee Mosul amid the offensive, putting a strain on Iraq's capacity to accommodate internally displaced people.
"Mosul is a city of between 1.2 and 1.5 million people. With the operation being undertaken that's going to lead to some people being displaced. We don't know the number of people that will be displaced. So UNICEF is preparing for water and for sanitation for up to 700,000 people in all," UNICEF's representative in Iraq, Peter Hawkins, told RT.
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