A young girl from Mosul gets water from a tap at a displacement camp in Iraq’s Nineveh province.
One of three major water pipelines was struck as Iraqi troops fought back ISIS
militants in parts of eastern Mosul.
The damaged conduit remains inside the group’s territory, making it inaccessible for repairs, according to a UNICEF statement released Wednesday
An Iraqi-led offensive began in October to liberate Mosul
after more than two years under ISIS
is the terror group’s last major power base in Iraq.
Officials and witnesses admit a pipeline break has occurred but said ISIS’ more sinister agenda has escalated the problem. The group has intentionally cut off water supplies to neighborhoods near the front line, according to Zuhair Hazem al-Jabouri, a Mosul
City Council official responsible for supervising the city’s water and energy services.
“They (ISIS) cut the electricity to the water stations that feed several neighborhoods where Iraqi troops are advancing,” Jabouri said. “They are depriving people of drinking water in eastern Mosul. They want to force people to retreat with them in order to use them as human shields.”
The United Nations could not verify the reports but said that the group’s policy of indifference has spelled suffering for more than 1 million civilians still inside Mosul.
“There is a clear pattern that we have seen in many of the cities and towns ISIS
has occupied: that they will use water, food, anything to coerce the population,” Lise Grande, UN
humanitarian coordinator in Iraq
, told CNN.
“The way the Iraqi forces are fighting the battle they are doing anything they can to protect the civilians. On the other side, ISIS
is doing anything it can to hurt them.”
The terror group maintains control of critical water and electricity plants that service thousands of homes in Mosul
, Iraq’s second-largest city.
“We have information that ISIS
shuts and opens water access as they please,” Sabah al-Numan, a spokesman for Iraq’s counterterror forces, told CNN.
Trapped behind enemy lines
Last week the Hashd al-Shabi or Popular Mobilization Units, or PMUs, announced that Iraqi-led forces had completely surrounded Mosul