Aid groups worry for people trapped in Iraq's Fallujah

Aid groups worry for people trapped in Iraq's Fallujah

UN Security Council has failed to pave way for humanitarian aid to reach Iraq’s Fallujah, Turkish Red Crescent head says

By Seyit Ahmet Aytac

ANKARA (AA) – The UN Security Council has failed to pave the way for humanitarian aid to reach Iraq’s Fallujah where a military operation to retake the city from Daesh continues, top Turkish Red Crescent official said Thursday.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, head of Turkish Red Crescent, Kerem Kinik, expressed concern over human rights violations and reported mass killings of civilians in Fallujah.

He termed such incidents as “unacceptable”.

Kinik said that public spaces such as schools and hospitals deserve protection under international law.

He also said that the Turkish Red Crescent had increased its humanitarian aid to the region, adding: “We try to push the international community to be aware of violations of law during war.”

Hasan Aynaci from the Turkish nongovernmental organization, Humanitarian Relief Foundation, blamed the Iraqi government for the deaths of civilians during the offensive in Fallujah.

“According to Iraqi human rights watchdog, humanitarian crises broke out following Fallujah operations led by Iraqi troops and Shia militia, leaving at least 100,000 people trapped in the war-battered city. People are suffering from lack of medicine and food supplies,” he said.

“The UN and world are watching the humanitarian crises in silent. We continue to help people, who are exposed to barbarous attacks and suffer hunger and thirst living in dire situation in the holy month of Ramadan,” Aynaci added.

“We have already supplied 2,000 people living at a camp with food,” he said.

“Due to road closures at least 3,000 people are facing starvation or death. Humanitarian groups are trying to find ways to reach the destitute,” Aynaci said.

The Iraqi operation to retake Fallujah was launched on May 23. Since then, civilians trapped inside have been deprived of their basic living needs.

Located along the Euphrates River about 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Iraqi capital Baghdad, Fallujah -- which fell to Daesh in early 2014 -- is believed to be home to some 90,000 residents.

*Anadolu Agency Correspondent Ahmet Sait Akcay contributed to story from Ankara.

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