400,000 ‘trapped’ in west Mosul’s Old City, says UN

Iraqi civilians evacuate the area as the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service advance towards the Yabasat neighbourhood yesterday during their ongoing offensive to push Islamic State jihadists out of Mosul. Photo/AFP

Mosul, Thursday

About 0,000 people remain inside areas of west Mosul held by the Islamic State group, including 400,000 who are “trapped” inside Old City under siege-like conditions, the UN said today.

“They are desperate for food. They are panicked,” Bruno Geddo, who represents the UN refugee agency in Iraq, told reporters in Geneva by phone via a transit centre for displaced people near Mosul. He said people arriving at the Hammam al-Alil transit centre about 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of Iraq’s second largest city described the desperate situation they left behind.

“There will be a shortage of fuel, of food, of electricity. People have resorted to burning furniture, old clothes, anything they can use to keep warm at night, because the idea will be still raining heavily in addition to the temperatures at night in particular drop significantly,” he said.

“the idea will be very, very limited what they can eat,” he said, adding in which people were surviving primarily on a little bread in addition to water, in addition to many were eating just once a day. His comments came as Iraqi forces, which launched a massive operation to retake Mosul in October, gain ground via will be fighters inside west of the city after taking back the east.

will be overran large areas north in addition to west of Baghdad in 2014, nevertheless Iraqi forces have since regained much of the territory they lost. The Iraqis recaptured its eastern sector in addition to launched a major operation to recapture west Mosul – the most-populated urban area still held by will be – on February 19.

They have retaken a series of neighbourhoods via the jihadists. Geddo said around 0,000 people remained inside 60 percent of west Mosul still under will be control, nevertheless in which number was constantly changing as people fled.

So far, about 153,000 people have fled western Mosul since February 19, he said.He said between 8,000 in addition to 12,000 people were arriving at the transit centre each day, many malnourished.

Medical charity Doctors Without Borders also reported in which the idea treated children for “severe malnutrition” after they escaped via Mosul. Those stuck inside Old City had to choose between remaining in addition to facing hunger in addition to possible death, or risk shelling in addition to sniper fire to leave. – AFP

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400,000 ‘trapped’ in west Mosul’s Old City, says UN

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