UN Expands Civilian Camps Near Mosul

A man pushes a wheelbarrow next to debris in a street of Mosul, Iraq, on April 4.A man pushes a wheelbarrow next to debris in a street of Mosul, Iraq, on April 4.

The United Nations said on Tuesday it was expanding camps for people fleeing Mosul, as airstrikes resumed on the positions of the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq’s second largest city.

More than 300,000 people have fled Mosul since the start of the US-backed campaign in October, the office of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq said in a statement, Reuters reported.

Before the operation to drive IS from the city began, Mosul had a population of about a million and a half, split about evenly between the areas east and west of Tigris River that runs through the middle.

Iraqi forces captured the eastern side in January and in February launched a second phase to take the western side, with air and ground support from a US-led coalition.

More people are expected to flee the fighting and camps for the displaced north and east of Mosul are expanding, the UN statement said.

Airstrikes on the city by the Iraqi air force resumed on Tuesday as the sky cleared after several days of bad weather, the Iraqi military said.

The Iraqi air force carried out at least three airstrikes in western Mosul, killing several dozens of IS fighters, according to Iraqi military statements on Tuesday.

A number of IS commanders were killed in an airstrike on a position in Hay al-Tanak, a stronghold of the group, they said.

Among those killed were commanders in charge of booby traps, of Arab suicide fighters and child recruitment, the statement added, without identifying them by name. The two other strikes killed militants and destroyed weapons and vehicles.

A Reuters TV crew saw dozens of people fleeing their homes near or across the frontline, braving sniper and mortar fire, while a helicopter strafed positions further north.


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