Refugees from western Mosul up to 89.000: ministry

Iraqi refugees fleeing Mosul

Nineveh ( Refugees escaping battles between Islamic State militants and security forces in western Mosul have reached 89.245 since operations launched mid February, the Iraqi government said Saturday.

The Ministry of Migration and Displacement said its camps received 12.458 refugees from western Mosul over the past 24 hours, adding that the total now stands at 89.000 since a second phase of operations launched to retake the region.

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 western Mosul. Upon the launch of operations to recapture eastern Mosul last October, the United Nations predicted 1.5 million refugees.

ِ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.

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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