Minister: refugees from Mosul battles rise to 125000

Iraqi refugees

Baghdad ( The number of Iraqi refugees fleeing turmoil at the city of Mosul and the Kirkuk town of Hawija has reached 125000 since the start of security operations to retake Mosul in October, according to the Migration and Displacement Ministry.

Minister Jassem al-Jaff said Wednesday that the number is well beyond the refugee camps’ capacity of 120000.

“The ministry needs to coordinate more with the United Nations to cope with the continuous flow of migrants from Mosul and Kirkuk,” said the minister.

Al-Jaff pointed out that 1.5 million refugees returned to their hometowns over the past two years.

The United Nations estimates more than 3.5 million displaced in Iraq The United Nations estimates that there are at least 3 million internally-displaced people in Iraq. Upon the launch of the security campaign to liberate the city of Mosul, the organization had said it was concerned over the fate of more than one million persons there.

Many at refugee camps are reportedly grappling with medicine and food shortages, as well as freezing weather.

Iraqi government forces, backed by popular militias and a US-led military coalition, have been leading a wide-scale campaign to retake Mosul from Islamic State militants. Many are still stranded inside the battlefield, and locals are reporting that civilians who try to escape the city are deliberately targeted by the group’s extremist militants.

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