Five million displaced in northern Iraq

Iraqi soldiers at work Iraqi soldiers at work Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP

25 October 2017
After the recapturing of Hawija from Islamic State's control, humanitarian associations have expressed concerns about civilian safety.

On September 20, Iraqi forces started an offensive in the northern town of Hawija and surrounding areas in the Kirkuk province, in order to free them from the extremist group Islamic State (ISIS). Just a few weeks later, on October 8, the Iraqi army declared its victory, as the last Isis-held points in the city had been defeated. In 2017 Iraq have already recaptured the cities of Mosul and Tal Afar from ISIS, both in the north of the country.

As the offensive in the Hawija area concluded, the United Nations (UN) and several humanitarian organisations expressed deep concern about the safety of civilian population in the Kirkuk province. In particular, concerns were about incidents of collective punishment, violence and sexual exploitation that are affecting numerous people in the region. Many people are also facing restrictions on the freedom of movement. According to the United Nations, these incidents are happening also in emergency sites.

In a press release, Lise Grande, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq argued: "Nothing is more important than protecting the civilians who have been impacted by the conflict. Hundreds of thousands of people, including tens of thousands of very young children, have been exposed to extreme danger, stress, and trauma and will require years of specialised support and care”. Since the beginning of the civil war in Iraq, in 2014, 5.4 millions of civilians have been displaced. According to Iraq body count, the total number of civilian deaths in Iraq since 2014 is more than 66,345, as of October 8.


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