Iraqis flee Mosul by the thousands as clashes intensify

Published March 5th, 2017 - 07:00 GMT
Last week, Iraqi authorities opened the Hammam al-Alil camp for service in southeastern Mosul with a capacity of 4,000 families from western Mosul. (AFP/File)
Last week, Iraqi authorities opened the Hammam al-Alil camp for service in southeastern Mosul with a capacity of 4,000 families from western Mosul. (AFP/File)

Iraqi forces have evacuated around 8,000 civilians from western Mosul in the past 24 hours amid an ongoing offensive to drive Daesh militants from the area, according to a local military officer.

"The civilians were transferred from districts where forces are engaged in fighting against Daesh," Army Captain Jabbar Hassan told Anadolu Agency on Saturday.

He said the evacuees were moved to temporary refugee camps before being relocated to east of Mosul.

Iraqi authorities announced Friday around 14,000 civilians fled western Mosul in one day, in one of the biggest displacement waves since the army launched fresh operations to recapture western Mosul last month.

Federal police officer Karim Thiyab, for his part, described the process of hosting refugees as "disorganized".

Last week, Iraqi authorities opened the Hammam al-Alil camp for service in southeastern Mosul with a capacity of 4,000 families from western Mosul.

"Chaos has ravaged the camp as a result of poor measures taken by relief teams," Thiyab told Anadolu Agency.

In mid-February, Iraqi forces -- backed by a U.S.-led air coalition -- began fresh operations aimed at purging Daesh 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.

Reporting by Ali Jawad, Writing by Mahmoud Barakat


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