26,000 Iraqis fled west Mosul in 10 days: minister

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26,000 Iraqis fled west Mosul in 10 days: minister | thenewstribe.com

BAGHDAD: Twenty-six thousand Iraqis fled west Mosul in the 10 days since security forces launched a major push to retake it from jihadists, the minister of displacement and migration said Wednesday.

Jassem Mohammed al-Jaff announced that field teams received “26,000 displaced people from (west) Mosul during the past 10 days,” a statement from the ministry said.

But the number who have fled is only a small fraction of the 750,000 people who are believed to have stayed on in west Mosul under Islamic State group rule.

The drive to retake the west of Mosul began on February 19, after Iraqi troops retook the city’s eastern side the previous month.

IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes and other support have since regained most of the territory they lost.

The operation to retake Mosul — the last IS-held city in the country — was launched on October 17.

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