Date
17 December 2017
A man cries as he carries his daughter while walking from an Islamic State-controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul on March 4. Photo: Reuters
A man cries as he carries his daughter while walking from an Islamic State-controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul on March 4. Photo: Reuters

Tens of thousands flee Mosul as Iraq renews offensive against IS

Tens of thousands of civilians fled their homes in western Mosul in recent days as the Iraqi military renewed an offensive against Islamic State (IS) militants.

The International Organization for Migration estimates that more than 50,000 people left their homes in the two weeks amid fierce battles in the area, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Some 200,000 people remain displaced from Mosul’s east and west sides since the operation to retake the city from IS began in October, according to the United Nations agency.

On Mosul’s outskirts, workers are building new camps to accommodate the continued exodus.

Iraq’s military announced its ground offensive to drive IS from west Mosul, its remaining urban stronghold in Iraq, on Feb. 26 after a weeks-long pause following victory in the east.

Residents who had been living under IS rule for more than two years poured out to aid stations and camps.

The militants forced people into urban areas for use as human shields and punished those who tried to leave, according to locals and officials.

The UN’s refugee agency has 10 camps near Mosul, and it is set to open another 9,300-capacity camp in the coming weeks.

The US has backed Iraqi forces in Mosul since the battle to reclaim the city began in October.

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RA/RC

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