The battle going on inside Iraq is intensifying between Iraqi forces and Islamic State jihadists. On Tuesday, Iraqi forces reported making major progress in their fight against ISIS by taking Iraq city of Qayyarah.
Amid the ongoing military struggle against the Islamic State, the humanitarian situation has continued to deteriorate. According to Al Alarabiya News, “The United Nations said Tuesday it was rushing to build camps to accommodate what it expects to be a mass exodus from Mosul following the battle to eject ISIS.” They went on to report, “The UN refugee agency warned that an expected battle to liberate Mosul was likely to ‘dramatically worsen’ the displacement situation in the country.”
The Middle East generally is struggling to accommodate millions of refugees fleeing battlefields not just in Iraq, but in places like Syria and Yemen. However, Iraq has been especially vulnerable to troubling civilian situations. “The humanitarian impact of a military offensive there is expected to be enormous,” he said, cautioning that as many as 1.2 million civilians could be affected,” Al Arabiya reported.
Al Alarbiya also wrote in regard to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, “Iraq is already facing one of the world’s biggest displacement crises, with 3.38 million people forced to flee their homes in the country since 2014.” They also highlighted, “In just the past few months alone, 213,000 people have been forced from their homes across the country, including around 48,000 who have fled Mosul.”
In June, Breitbart News reported on the siege of Mosul, “The siege of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, has prompted an exodus of families fleeing the fighting, many attempting to reach areas already flooded with refugees from the Syrian Civil War.”
Mosul has become the de facto capital for the Islamic State in Iraq. Since retaking Fallujah back in June, the new goal of the Iraqi security forces has been to retake Mosul. With Qayyarah back in the hands of the Iraqi security forces, they now have a base of operation that will aid them in their quest to retake Mosul from ISIS.
However, once this operation gets underway, the humanitarian crisis that is already dire could get much worse. According to the UNHC, “some 400,000 people could flee to the south of Mosul, around 250,000 to the east and another 100,000 to the northwest, towards the Syrian border.”