Over 300,000 refugees from Mosul flee to Kurdistan
KRG plans to build three camps near the entry checkpoints of Erbil and Duhok for the refugees
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) assistant head of the Department of Foreign Relations, Dindar Zebari, announced in a press conference that approximately 300,000 refugees have arrived in the Iraqi Kurdistan, with about 180,000 refugees in Duhok and 100,000 in Erbil.
People from Mosul fled their homes after fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) took control of the key points in the city including the governorate building, the airport and the police stations and finally seized the whole city. ISIS fighters overran the Iraqi security forces in Mosul, capital of the northern Nineveh province on 10 June, prompting tens of thousands to leave their homes.
“We ask the international humanitarian organizations and the Iraqi government to provide support to the refugees since the Kurdish Government is unable to take this huge responsibility alone,” said Zebari.
Zebari also said that the Kurdistan Regional government plans to build three camps near the entry checkpoints of Erbil and Duhok for the refugees.
Observers from the humanitarian organizations and the KRG officials think the number of refugees is expected to increase from 300,000 people to over one million in the next few days. The disputed areas of the Kurdistan Region are steadily being flooded with refugees seeking to escape the dangerous situation in their hometown.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani called on Kurds to help internally displaced persons (IDPs) fleeing Mosul.
Barzani announced that as a result of the vio- lence perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) who are now controlling large parts of Mosul, a wave of IDPs is heading to the Kurdistan Region.
“Due to the failure of the Iraqi security forces to protect the people and the city, the militant group now controls Mosul. This has caused widespread fear. The people of Mosul fear for their lives because of the war and the lack of food and services. They are leaving their city in large groups,” read the statement.
Barzani made reference to the failed relationship between Erbil and Baghdad as the reason behind the inability to cooperate in protecting Mosul, which has been under heavy fighting since Saturday.
Barzani also called on Kurds and the UNHCR to support the incoming IDPs: “To support the refugees from Mosul which includes all ethnic groups, Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and Christians, I call on all the Kurds to help them as much as possible.”
Barzani said: “We ensure the Kurdish people who are living in areas not under the Kurdistan Region administration that the security forces and the Peshmarga are always ready and fully prepared to protect them."
Only two days after Barzani’s statement, the UN refugee agency said on 12 June, that it was immediately stepping up its aid efforts in Iraq in response to the new massive exodus from the city of Mosul and the surrounding areas. The UNHCR protecting teams have been on the ground to monitor the outflow and assist those in need. And to succeed in their efforts urgent additional funding is being sought.