Camps set up as Iraqis flee Mo­sul

Army’s message as Mo­sul op­er­a­tion con­tin­ues

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

A se­nior Iraqi general called on his coun­try­men fight­ing for ISIS in Mo­sul to sur­ren­der as a wide-scale op­er­a­tion to re­take the mil­i­tant-held city en­tered its third day.

Lt Gen Talib Shaghati told re­porters at a mil­i­tary base yes­ter­day that up to 6,000 ISIS fight­ers are in­side the city. He did not say how many of them are for­eign­ers.

The ter­ror group cap­tured Mo­sul, Iraq’s se­cond largest city, in a light­ning ad­vance in the sum­mer of 2014, but has suf­fered a string of de­feats over the past year and Mo­sul is its last ma­jor ur­ban bas­tion in Iraq.

The mil­i­tants have put up fierce re­sis­tance in vil­lages sur­round­ing the city, where most of the fight­ing has been con­cen­trated. ISIS has sent trucks loaded with ex­plo­sives ca­reen­ing to­ward the front lines and fired mor­tars to slow the Iraqi forces’ad­vance.

An Iraqi of­fi­cer from the 9th Di­vi­sion told said that his troops were now 1km away from Ham­daniyah, a his­tor­i­cally Chris­tian town also known as Bakhdida, to the east of Mo­sul.

Over the pre­vi­ous day, ISIS sent 12 car bombs, all of which were blown up be­fore reach­ing their tar­gets, he said, adding that Iraqi troops suf­fered a small num­ber of ca­su­al­ties from the mor­tar rounds. The ad­vance by Iraqi forces comes as res­i­dents be­gin flee­ing the em­bat­tled city.

Save the Chil­dren said 5,000 peo­ple have fled to a refugee camp in north­east­ern Syria from the Mo­sul area in the past 10 days, with an­other thou­sand wait­ing to en­ter at the border.

The group said the over­whelmed camp is “lit­tered with waste and fae­ces, with a loom­ing risk of out­breaks of dis­ease”.

It said there are just 16 la­trines shared by more than 9,000 peo­ple, many of whom only have ac­cess to dirty, un­treated wa­ter.

“Con­di­tions there are among the worst we’ve seen, and we ex­pect thou­sands more peo­ple to be on their way soon,” said Tarik Kadir, head of the group’s Mo­sul re­sponse.

The op­er­a­tion to re­take Mo­sul is the largest launched by the Iraqi army since the 2003 US-led in­va­sion. About 25,000 troops, in­clud­ing Sunni tribal fight­ers, Kur­dish forces known as the pesh­merga and state-sanc­tioned Shia mili­tias known as the Pop­u­lar Mo­bil­i­sa­tion Units are ap­proach­ing the city from dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions.

‘Con­di­tions are among the worst we’ve seen and we ex­pect more peo­ple’

– Save the Chil­dren, which said 5,000 have fled Mo­sul to a refugee camp in the past 10 days

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