Canadian troops operate in east Mosul as mission extended

Iraqi security forces drive along a road in Mosul where over 300 civilians have been killed according to the UN since the west Mosul offensive began in mid-February

Iraqi security forces drive along a road in Mosul where over 300 civilians have been killed according to the UN since the west Mosul offensive began in mid-February

HASSAN SHAM CAMP, Iraq (AP) - More funding is needed for U.N. programs in Iraq, the United Nations chief said Friday, and called for worldwide solidarity with the people of Mosul.

Sajjan has announced that the Government of Canada is extending Canada's current military contribution to the fight against Da'esh until June 30, 2017.

"Due to recent advances in the worldwide campaign, Canadian special operations forces elements are now advising and assisting Iraqi security forces in the campaign to rid Mosul of Daesh", he said.

"Unfortunately our program is only 8 percent funded", he said, referring to a 2017 United Nations humanitarian response program without giving additional details.

The former Portuguese prime minister said there were not enough resources available to provide acceptable living conditions for the people of Mosul or for the reconciliation efforts that needed to follow when the city was fully recaptured.

"Canadian military personnel will continue to play a key role in worldwide efforts to defeat Da'esh, including aerial refuelling and surveillance, intelligence, helicopter transport, medical support, and capacity building", said Gen Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff.

At least 355,000 residents have fled the fighting, according to the government.

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General Stephen Townsend, the senior USA commander in Iraq, said this week a coalition strike in the northern city earlier this month "probably" killed dozens of civilians.

The air strike took place on March 25, he said.

Spokesman Colonel Joe Scrocca too accused IS of attempting to bait the US-led coalition supporting the operation into carrying out strikes that would kill civilians in order "to take advantage of the public outcry and the terror".

Iraqi security forces have sustained about 284 killed, with over 1,600 wounded, since they began to retake the western half of Mosul on Feb 17.

Camps have been set up around the city to provide shelter for the displaced, while others are staying with relatives, renting accommodation or residing in makeshift shelters or unfinished buildings.

IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes have since regained much of the territory they lost.

The setbacks come after coalition forces backed by US airstrikes and advisors took back Fallujah, Iraq, and wrested control of much of the IS stronghold in Mosul, also in Iraq.

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