Iraqi refugees from 3 provinces, including Mosul, beyond 500.000: government

Families fleeing the violence in the Iraqi city of Mosul arrive at a checkpoint in outskirts of Arbil, in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, June 10, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Baghdad ( Iraqi refugees displaced from three provinces where Islamic State militants are still active have surpassed half a million, the Iraqi government said Wednesday.

The Ministry of Migration and Displacement said in a statement that refugees from Nineveh, Kirkuk’s town of Hawija and Salahuddin’s town of Shirqat reached 526.281 since operations were launched to clear Nineveh from IS militants in October 2016.

Those include 467.210 refugees from Nineveh, 41.774 from Hawija and 17.297 from Shirqat, according to the statement.

The latest count of Mosul refugees by the Iraqi government stood at at least 433.000, with more than 280.000 estimated to have fled western Mosul since an offensive sat on in February to recapture that region. The United Nations count recently stood at 320.000.

IS’s reign over Iraqi provinces it captured in 2014 has forced hundreds of thousands to flee to refugee camps and to neighboring countries, but the extremist group has intentionally targeted civilians upon attempting to leave. Many have also been quoted complaining of food and medicine shortages at refugee camps.

The Iraqi government estimates the number of people displaced inside the country since the emergence of IS in 2014 by more than four million. But migration minister Jassem al-Jaff said recently that nearly two million were repatriated to their hometowns across Iraq.

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