Thousands of Iraqis flee Mosul to Syria

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Over 4,000 Iraqis from the city of Mosul have fled to Syria since May, according to the United Nations refugee agency. The UN anticipates up to 50,000 people to leave the ISIS-controlled city and cross to Syria.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that Islamic State militants have been increasing executions of men and boys in Fallujah, since Iraqi government forces began attempting to re-take the city.

A total of 4,266 people arrived in May at the al-Hol camp, approximately 14km from the Iraqi border.

UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming, says that the numbers are likely to continue to grow.

“Right now it’s a bit over 4,000 but it is in anticipation of 50,000. There are contingencies for potential numbers who could be coming in … They don’t have many other options of places to flee in that region, so we’re getting ready.”

“We’ve seen actually a spike in the numbers of Iraqi refugees who are risking the dangerous crossing into Syria in a desperate bid. Just picture this, we have refugees fleeing to Syria,” Fleming said.

“They, I’m sure, hear what’s going on in Fallujah and want to leave before they too are trapped. But also there is fighting in the surrounding areas that is driving people to leave.”

The Iraqi army began an offensive on Monday against IS in Fallujah, 50km west of Baghdad.

50,000 people are estimated to be trapped inside the city.


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