42,000 displaced since start of Mosul assault: IOM
REUTERS photoNearly 42,000 people have fled their homes since last month’s start of the operation to recapture Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Nov. 9.
Aid organizations have warned that more than a million people could be displaced in the battle for Mosul, and while it has not yet reached that scale, the numbers are growing.
The IOM said on its displacement tracking web page that 41,988 people have been “displaced as a result of the ongoing Mosul operations which began on Oct. 17, 2016.”
That was an increase of more than 7,000 from the figure the IOM gave the previous day.
The IOM said a significant part of that increase was the result of new counts of people who were already present in camps, though more were also still arriving.
The vast majority of those displaced are from the Mosul area, but the IOM has also included people from several other provinces in its figures.
While the worst-case scenario has not materialized so far, Iraqi forces have yet to push deep into the city, and the number of people fleeing could increase dramatically when that occurs.
Meanwhile, a coalition of mainly Shiite Iraqi militias advancing on the ISIL-held town of Tal Afar plans to seize a nearby military air base from the jihadists, the first time the Iran-backed forces have targeted such a base, militia officials said on Nov. 8, according to Reuters.
The al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) paramilitary forces are deployed in the arid region west of Mosul as part of a wider military campaign to retake Mosul and the town of Tal Afar, and its air base, are located on the highway west of Mosul. Capturing them would help cut ISIL supply lines between Mosul and its Syrian territories.
Iraqi PM hopes for continued US support after Trump win
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi congratulated Donald Trump on Nov. 9 on his election as president and said he hoped for continued U.S. and international support in the war against jihadists.
Trump, who won a surprise victory over Hillary Clinton, has repeatedly vilified Muslims and also made remarks during the campaign that raised questions about his support for U.S. security commitments in places including the Middle East.
Abadi congratulates Trump “on the occasion of his victory in the American presidential election,” a statement from the premier’s office said.
“We look forward to the continued support of the world and the United States in standing with Iraq in its confrontation with terrorism,” Abadi said.
Iraqi President Fuad Masum, parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi and leaders of the country’s autonomous Kurdish region also offered congratulations on Trump’s win.