Hundreds flee Iraq’s Mosul amid anti-Daesh army assault

Mosul residents flee homes in droves as Iraqi army attempts to retake northern city from Daesh

By Khedr Khallat

NINEVEH, Iraq

Hundreds of people have fled their homes in Iraq's northern city of Mosul as security forces pressed ahead with an offensive aimed at recapturing the city from the Daesh terrorist group.

In a Sunday statement, Iraq's Joint Operations Command said Iraqi forces had taken in some 2,000 refugees who had fled their homes in southern Mosul.

On Thursday, the army launched a much-anticipated offensive aimed at retaking Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, which was captured by Daesh in mid-2014.

"Refugee numbers have risen steadily since the operation began," Iraqi army officer Abdel-Rahman Jabouri told Anadolu Agency.

The Iraqi authorities expect roughly one million people to flee their homes in Nineveh province -- of which Mosul is the regional capital -- as the anti-Daesh offensive gathers steam.

Jabouri called on the Iraqi government to take measures -- including construction of makeshift camps -- to accommodate the swelling numbers of refugees in the region.

Iraq has been dogged by rampant insecurity since mid-2014, when Daesh overran Mosul and declared a self-styled "caliphate" in parts of Iraq and Syria.

Source: Anadolu Agency