Iraq: Thousands Flee Mosul as Fighting Intensifies

mosul-isisThousands of people are fleeing the Western sector of Mosul where fighting is taking place between the Iraqi Government forces and terrorists of the Islamic State group.

The United Nations migration agency reported Tuesday thousands of new arrivals at Iraqi sites for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) fleeing Mosul.

“The stories of the survivors are heart-breaking,” said Thomas Lothar Weiss, Iraq Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in a press release.

Since the start of Iraqi forces’ efforts to retake the city’s western section on February 19, more than 10,000 people have been displaced in the zone, according to Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MoMD).

“We are very worried about the fate of the tens of thousands of families still trapped inside of West Mosul,” said the Iraq Chief of IOM Mission.

IOM reported some 1,650 people arrived today at the Hamam al-Aleel facility, and nearly 2,800 arrived at Qayara air strip on Sunday night. Both these locations are in Nineweh Governorate southeast of Mosul.

Besides the 4450 IDPs numbered by IOM between Sunday and Tuesday, MoMD estimates another 3,000 individuals are already moving towards the checkpoints and are expected to arrive by Wednesday.

These numbers, among the largest in weeks, are just a fraction of the 250,000 or more people who could yet be displaced from western Mosul as fighting escalates, said IOM Iraq press officer Hala Jaber.

“There is serious concern for the 750,000 trapped in the densely populated western sector, with conditions worsening daily, according to reports and testimonies from those who have managed to escape,” she said.

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