130.000 refugee families return home in Anbar: ministry

Refugees in Anbar suffer under heavy rainfalls.

Anbar ( Nearly 130.000 refugee families have returned to their homes in Anbar since Islamic State militants, the Iraqi government said on Sunday.

There are currently more than 22.000 families remaining in refugee camps, according to the Ministry of Migration and Displacement department in Anbar

The families have returned to their homes in the cities of Ramadi, Fallujah, karma, Khalidiya, Heet, Rutba and Haditha, the ministry said.

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights had estimated the number of Iraqis who fled Islamic State violence since December 2013 by more than 500.000.

Data from the ministry have recently showed that at least 191.000 people were displaced by battles between security forces and Islamic State militants in Mosul since operations launched to retake the city in October 2016.

Islamic State militants have targeted civilians attempting to flee areas under its control, according to locals and aid groups. Hose who have made it to refugee camps have also been reported to suffer shortages in medical and food supplies, as well as inclement weather.

The United Nations puts the number of internally displaced Iraqis since 2014 at more than 3 million, and had voiced fears that the conflict in Mosul could displace at least one million people. It recently expressed concern for 750.000 civilians in western Mosul as government forces prepare to battle Islamic State militants out of their strongholds there.

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