Thousands flee IS-wrecked Mosul daily as crunch-battle nears

Thousands flee IS-wrecked Mosul daily as crunch-battle nears
Since operations targeting IS militants encamped in west Mosul began on 19 February, an average of 4,000 civilians have fled daily, according to the UN.
2 min read
03 March, 2017
Accommodating all those displaced from Mosul remains a concern for humanitarian groups [Getty]
Battles between Iraqi forces and Islamic State group militants in western Mosul have triggered a fresh exodus of civilians from the war torn city.

Around 4,000 people have fled Mosul daily since operations backed by a US-led coalition of states began on the west of the city on 19 February, according to OCHA, the UN's humanitarian office.

The total number of people displaced from Mosul and the surrounding environs since Iraqi forces kicked off their campaigns in Mosul in October 2016 now stands at 191,826, according to statistics from the International Organization for Migration.

These include around two thousand people who arrived in the Kurdistan region from the city on Thursday, according to Hoshang Mohamed, Director General of the Joint Crisis Coordination Centre.

"In the next couple of days it is expected huge numbers will be arriving," said Mohamed in comment to Rudaw.

As battles in west Mosul intensify on Thursday, Reuters reported that both civilians in addition to Islamic State militants were feared dead after an airstrike targeted a mosque in the al-Faruq district of the city.

IS militants took control of Mosul in June 2014 during a series of military conquests that saw the extremist group seize vast swathes of territory straddling both Iraq and Syria. 

On Wednesday, a top-ranking US military official said that around 2,000 IS fighters remained positioned in and around west Mosul, defending the last portions of their former Iraqi bastion.

"We have a specific campaign to hunt them and kill them," Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend said in a video call from Baghdad.

"Almost all of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's inner circle has been killed in the last six months."

Aid agencies have expressed concern as to how to accomodate the needs of those displaced from the city as Iraqi troops make inroads into west Mosul, with OCHA announcing in a press release on Wednesday that with three camps for Internally Displaced People south of Mosul full, plans are underway to expand and upgrade current sites.