US concerned over humanitarian situation in Fallujah

WASHINGTON, June 6 (KUNA) — US officials have recently voiced their concern about the humanitarian situation inside Fallujah following latest reports on the way the so-called Islamic State (IS) is treating citizens of the Iraqi city as the operation to liberate Fallujah from IS continues, the White House said Monday.
“There are reports that some of the citizens are being used as human shields and in some cases even worse,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a press briefing.
“We do believe it is very important that once Fallujah is liberated, that the forces that succeeded in liberating the city abide by basic humanitarian standards,” Earnest added.
Earnest was told that some leaders of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have bickered with the Iraqi military, and that those leaders want to see the Fallujah fight goes faster.
“We have made clear from the beginning that the United States and our coalition partners are prepared to be supportive of those Iraqi forces that are operating under the command and control of the Iraqi central government,” he said.
US forces will not condone using the conflict as cover to inflame sectarian conflict, he added.
The Iraqi central government has demonstrated a commitment to pursuing an inclusive agenda that represents the diversity of Iraq’s population, and Iraqi government forces are committed to minimizing civilian casualties and protecting the people of Fallujah, Earnest said.
“So look, there is not much that I have to say about the Shia militias and their preferences,” Earnest said.
“Obviously, the organization that we are cooperating with and advising and assisting is the Iraqi central government and the forces that are operating under their command and control,” he added. (end)