42k refugees displaced since start of Mosul assault: IOM

Source:AFP Published: 2016/11/9 22:48:39 Last Updated: 2016/11/9 23:43:40

Nearly 42,000 people have fled their homes since last month's start of the operation to recapture Mosul from the Islamic State (IS) group, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Wednesday.

Aid organizations have warned that more than a million people could be displaced in the battle for Mosul, and while it has not yet reached that scale, the numbers are growing.

The IOM said on its displacement tracking web page that 41,988 people have been "displaced as a result of the ongoing Mosul operations which began on October 17, 2016."

That was an increase of more than 7,000 from the figure the IOM gave the previous day.

The IOM said a significant part of that increase was the result of new counts of people who were already present in camps, though more were also still arriving.

The vast majority of those displaced are from the Mosul area, but the IOM has also included people from several other provinces in its figures.

While the worst-case scenario has not materialized so far, Iraqi forces have yet to push deep into the city, and the number of people fleeing could increase dramatically when that occurs.

Both Mosul residents and the UN have reported that IS has forcibly gathered civilians for possible use as human shields.

IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes have since regained significant ground, and Mosul is now the last IS-held city in the country.


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