253,000 displaced civilians return to Mosul – Minister

Displaced Iraqi family from Mosul bake bread for their Iftar, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at a refugee camp al-Khazir in the outskirts of Erbil, Iraq June 10, 2017. Picture taken June 10, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Mosul ( Over 250,000 displaced civilians have returned to Mosul after liberating and clearing it from the Islamic State (IS) militant group, the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement announced on Wednesday.

“The number of displaced civilians who returned home to Mosul reached 253,000,” Minister Jassem al-Jaff said in statements, stressing that the ministry is working on facilitating the process of the displaced civilians return to their cities across Iraq.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said last week that about 839,118 individuals (139,853 families) remain displaced in the aftermath of heavy fighting to retake the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

The Iraqi government declared victory over Islamic State militants in Mosul on July 10, saying it concluded more than eight months of battles to recapture the city which the militants held as the capital of their self-styled “caliphate” since 2014. The eastern side of the city was retaken late January.

Following the declaration of victory, Iraqi forces have been in efforts to comb the recaptured areas for remnant IS cells, countering occasional attacks by the group and arresting many hiding among civilian refugees.

IS lost more than 250.000 fighters in the Mosul campaign, according to Iraqi commanders.

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