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Iraq: U.S. Military Convoy Heads Into Mosul

Outside Mosul, Iraq; 12 April 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A U.S. military convoy headed into the northern Iraqi city of Mosul today, one day after falling to U.S. and Kurdish troops without a fight. Some 40 U.S. military vehicles, mostly Humvees and some trucks, were seen going into Mosul, Reuters reported. Many had heavy machine guns or rocket launchers mounted on top.

Reuters also reports that Kurdish pehsmerga fighters appear to have honored their promise to leave the city of Kirkuk, which fell on 10 April. U.S. troops today are patrolling the streets of the northern oil hub.

Neighboring Turkey, which fears a separatist uprising among its own Kurdish minority, has sought assurances that U.S. troops would control the peshmerga.

In Baghdad, U.S. forces began patrols last night in a bid to restore order to the Iraqi capital. Reports say U.S. Marines are patrolling the main hospitals to prevent further looting of the medical facilities.

International aid agencies have criticized U.S. and British forces in Iraq, saying their inability to rein in looting mobs threatens to deepen the humanitarian and health crisis.

Also today, French President Jacques Chirac called for the use of force to be "subject to law" and stressed the United Nations should play a central role in postwar Iraq.

Chirac was addressing a gathering of international jurists on the second day of a two-day summit in St. Petersburg. During talks yesterday, Chirac, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder insisted the participation of the UN would lend legitimacy to Iraq's postwar reconstruction.

All three leaders have voiced strong opposition to the U.S.-led war, which was launched without UN approval.

Chirac said despite divisions over Iraq, the international community can still "reunite around the common values that form the basis of the United Nations."