Western Mosul refugees at 260.000, government expects 150.000 more

Displaced Iraqis who had fled their homes reach to get water before entering at Hammam al-Alil camp south of Mosul, Iraq April 3, 2017. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Erbil ( Battles between Islamic State militants in western Mosul and Iraqi forces seeking to retake that region since February have displaced 260.000 civilians, the Iraqi government has said.

Iraqi Minister of Migration and Displacement, Jassem al-Jaff, said Thursday, during a meeting in Erbil by the ministry’s Nineveh relief workforce, that his ministry expects 150.000 to leave homes as operations continue to recapture the remaining districts in the region.

The ministry continues efforts to erect 6000 more reserve refugee shelters, al-Jaff stated. He urged a faster pace in rehabilitating areas retaken from IS in order to encourage displaced families to return to their home regions.

The United Nations said two days ago that 300.000 were displaced since the Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, embarked on a wide-scale campaign in October to retake Mosul from Islamic State. The Iraqi government put the number at 430.000 on Wednesday.

The campaign managed to retake eastern Mosul in January and launched another stage in February to retake the west.

IS’s reign over Mosul 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

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