Minister: 72.000 refugees repatriated in liberated areas in Nineveh

A disabled Iraqi girl who flees her home is carried onto a truck to a safe place, as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants, in western Mosul, Iraq March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem – RTS11QJV

Baghdad ( The number of civilians repatriated in areas liberated from Islamic State militants in Nineveh has reached 72.000, according to the Iraqi government.

Migration and Displacement Minister, Jassem al-Jaff, said Tuesday that the number represents those who were returned home since U.S.-backed government operations launched in October 2016 to retake Nineveh’s city of Mosul from IS.

On Sunday, the ministry said its camps received 57.000 refugees since operations launched in February to clear western Mosul from militants, raising the total to at least 286.000 since operations set out in 2016.

The United Nations and Iraqi refugee bodies have warned that battles in western Mosul could displace at least 250.000 out of 750.000 estimated to be trapped under IS control in west of the city. ِThe Iraqi government said recently 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.

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.

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