Turkey earmarks more than US $20 billion for Iraqi refugees

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. File photo.

Baghdad ( Turkey said Friday it was going to allocate more than US$20 billion for Iraqi refugees on its soil as the dilemma exacerbates for hundreds of thousands displaced by the war against Islamic State militants.

In a joint press conference in Moscow with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country would devote more than US$20 billion to cater for the needs of nearly 300.000 Iraqi nationals in Turkish cities.

Thousands of Iraqis migrated to Turkey and neighboring countries to flee Islamic State terror since the group took over large parts of their country in 2014 to proclaim a self-styled “Islamic Caliphate”.

ِA spokesperson of the Iraqi government said earlier this month that over four million people had been displaced inside Iraq since Islamic State took over large areas of Iraq in 2014, adding that the government spent 300 billion dinars since then to cater for refugees.

The United Nations and Iraqi refugee bodies have warned that battles between Islamic State and security forces seeking to expel the group from western Mosul could displace at least 250.000 out of 750.000 estimated to be trapped under IS control. Upon the launch of operations to recapture eastern Mosul last October, the United Nations predicted 1.5 million refugees.

Islamic State has targeted civilians trying to escape areas under its control in Iraq, and many were killed by landmines planted by the group upon fleeing. The United Nations has also reported of severe food and medical stuff shortages affecting civilians in western Mosul. Iraqi security officials have, meanwhile, detected instances where IS militants tried to flee battles in the middle of refugee groups.

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