CAIRO – A total of 181,000 people have fled their homes in the western part of Mosul, a month after the offensive to liberate the Iraqi northern city from the Islamic State terror organization, the Iraqi ministry of displacement and migration announced on Monday.
The number of displaced people from the west of Mosul exceeds what was recorded in the eastern half of the Iraqi city, where Iraqi forces completed the military campaign last January to drive IS militants out of the area, according to a statement from the ministry.
In total, 355,000 people have left their homes during the offensive in the Iraqi northern city, which began last Oct. 17, although 81,000 of them have managed to return home.
A total of 111,000 people, who have recently fled the western half of Mosul, have taken refuge in camps for displaced persons, while another 70,000 have stayed in the homes of relatives or friends in neighborhoods to the east of Mosul, or other areas.
The camps set up by the Iraqi government and international humanitarian agencies have the capacity to accommodate 100,000 people, according to the statement.
There are no clear figures on the number of civilians who are still in the areas controlled by extremists.
Before the start of the military offensive, the United Nations estimated that the number of civilians in western Mosul could amount to between 750,000-800,000.
The military campaign in western Mosul began on Feb. 19 and Iraqi troops have so far taken control of about half of the territory west of the river Tigris, which divides the city.