At least 72,000 displaced people have returned to newly-recaptured parts of Mosul, Iraq's Ministry of Displacement and Migration said Monday.
"The number of people displaced from western Mosul now stands at 57,000, while the number of those displaced from the entire city has reached some 287,000," ministry spokesman Sattar Nowruz told Anadolu Agency.
"There has been a voluntary return by displaced people to newly-liberated areas [of the city], with at least 72,000 returning so far to their homes in eastern Mosul," he said.
Nowruz added that the ministry had just sent a first shipment -- containing 35 tons of food and humanitarian aid -- to western Mosul's Wadi Hajar district.
"This first aid shipment will be followed by others, as the local population there continues to suffer from a severe shortage of humanitarian assistance," he said.
According to the UN, some 750,000 civilians in western Mosul now face a serious humanitarian crisis.
Last month, the U.K.-based Oxfam group said humanitarian conditions in western Mosul had deteriorated sharply since the city's supply routes were cut last November when the Iraqi army retook the eastern half of the city.
In mid-February, Iraqi forces -- backed by a U.S.-led air coalition -- began fresh operations aimed at purging Daesh militants from western Mosul.
The offensive came as part of a wider campaign launched last October to retake the entire city, which Daesh overran -- along with much of northern and western Iraq -- in mid-2014.
By Muayyad al-Tarfi
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