US offers humanitarian aid as Iraq prepares to free Mosul from ISIS hold

Displaced Iraqis. File Photo
Displaced Iraqis. File Photo

( Baghdad – Anticipating a wave of displaced people when Iraqi forces launch a drive to recapture Mosul from ISIS, the US on Wednesday said that it would give Iraq $181 million in humanitarian aid.

“We are now in a position where ISIS in Iraq is increasingly on the run and on the ropes, and the urgent work ahead is to complete that effort. And Mosul, of course, is the big piece ahead of Iraq and ahead of us,” Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters in Baghdad on Wednesday.

On a visit to discuss planning for the offensive with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and other officials, Blinken said that the money would be used to pre-position emergency food and relief supplies.

The United Nations expects that around 1 million people could flee their homes in Mosul. Critics say preparations for the humanitarian and political fallout have not kept pace with military gains.

The additional aid brings US humanitarian assistance to over $1 billion since 2014, when a US-led coalition began bombing ISIS in Iraq and Syria as well as providing training and advice to Iraq’s security forces.

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