The months-long surge of Iraqi forces to retake Mosul continues to force people to flee the city and leaves 100,000 children trapped in the city in “extremely dangerous conditions,” warns UNICEF. Aid organizations are being overwhelmed by both the challenge of trying to reach suffering people within Mosul and providing basic needs to half the city’s population who has fled to outside refugee camps.
The U.S. admitted over the weekend that the military coalition it leads in Iraq was responsible for recent airstrikes in Mosul that killed more than 100 civilians.
More than 10,000 people fled western Mosul in the past week as Iraqi military forces continue their effort to recapture the city from the Islamic State, according to the International Organization for Migration. More are trying to leave. Another 6,000 people are waiting to pass through checkpoints to leave and as many as 4,000 are internally displaced.
The humanitarian fallout from Mosul is expected to be the worst of 2016. This is really saying something, given the scale of the Syrian crisis, and what’s happening in Yemen and South Sudan. As the battle rages on and humanitarian agencies have received, or are waiting to receive refugees, the media’s focus hasn’t been as much on the human side of the story.
The battle to liberate Mosul from Islamic State has begun, which may yield a crucial military victory – at the expense of more than a million civilians.