The UN has warned that another 200,000 people may be forced to flee their homes as Iraqi forces battle to wrest back the last Isis-held districts of Mosul, the jihadi group’s last big stronghold in Iraq.
Some 700,000 people have already been displaced in the seven-month long battle for Mosul, Iraq’s second city. Isis now holds less than 7 per cent of the territory it once captured after it seized Mosul and swept through northern Iraq in 2014. Iraqi forces backed by a US-led international coalition recaptured the eastern half of Mosul earlier this year and in recent months have been fighting to take back the western districts. The battle for the western half has been much bloodier, with Iraqi forces struggling to dislodge militants embedded in civilian homes in the ancient city’s densely packed older districts. The coalition-backed offensive has come under intense scrutiny for bombings that killed as many as 200 civilians in a strike. “The numbers of people fleeing their homes in western Mosul are overwhelming,” said Lise Grand, the Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Iraq, in a statement on Thursday. “They are fleeing under very difficult circumstances. Many are food insecure and have not had access to safe drinking water and medicines for weeks or months.” Most of those who flee end up in displacement camps around northern Iraq. Others with government authorisation move in with relatives in other cities. Those few with means might attempt to make the journey to Europe, although that route has become less popular owing to the costs and measures by neighbouring Turkey to sop refugees travelling further.
Source: Financial Times