By Ali Jawad
NINEVEH, Iraq (AA):- More than 5,000 Iraqi civilians have fled their homes in western Mosul as Iraqi forces are struggling to dislodge Daesh terrorists from the northern city.
“Iraqi forces have evacuated around 5,200 civilians from western Mosul in the past 24 hours,” military officer Jabbar Hassan told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.
He said the exodus of civilians from the city’s western side was still continuing.
“We expect a surge in the numbers of displaced people as our forces pushed deep into populated areas in western Mosul,” he said.
Meanwhile, Iyad Rafed of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society said the Hammam al-Alil displacement camp – which accommodates up to 4,000 families in southeastern Mosul – is no longer able to receive any more refugees.
“There are more than 24,000 in the camp, which is now unable to receive any refugee,” he told Anadolu Agency.
According to the UN, some 750,000 civilians in western Mosul now face a serious humanitarian crisis.
Last month, the U.K.-based Oxfam group said humanitarian conditions in western Mosul had deteriorated sharply since the city’s supply routes were cut last November when the Iraqi army retook the eastern half of the city.
In mid-February, Iraqi forces — backed by a U.S.-led air coalition — began fresh operations aimed at purging Daesh terrorists from western Mosul.
The offensive came as part of a wider campaign launched last October to retake the entire city, which Daesh overran — along with much of northern and western Iraq — in mid-2014.
[Photo: Iraqi civilians, fled from clashes between Iraqi Army and Daesh terrorists, leave with their belongings from Tal al-Rumman neighborhood to take shelter in Iraqi Army’s zone at Mosul-Baghdad highway, as the operation to retake Iraq’s Mosul from Daesh terrorists continues in Mosul, Iraq on March 12, 2017. Photographer: Muhabiri Hemn Baban/AA]