Norway is deeply concerned about the situation in western and northern Iraq, where the authorities have lost control of large areas, including Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.
Militants from ISIL, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and their allies have attacked cities and vital infrastructure in the region. As a result, the Iraqi security forces have abandoned the area, and several hundred thousand civilians have fled their homes. ISIL claims to have killed several hundred Iraqi soldiers they had taken captive.
‘I am shocked by the recent attacks in Mosul and the surrounding region, and particularly the reports of mass executions of Iraqi soldiers by ISIL. Such acts are appalling crimes that we condemn in the strongest possible terms. The perpetrators must be brought to justice,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
There are still several hundred thousand internally displaced people in western and northern Iraq as a result of the violence. There is a long-running conflict between the Iraqi authorities and the ISIL rebels, who are based on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border. The serious tensions between different sectarian and political groups in Iraq is one of the underlying reasons for the support ISIL enjoys.
‘The level of violence, the chaotic situation and the humanitarian consequences are dramatic not only for Iraq, but also for the region as a whole. It is essential to work towards political solutions that can counteract the growing tendency for splits along sectarian lines,’ said Mr Brende.