Friday, May 27, 2016

Iraqis fleeing ISIS-held Mosul seek refuge in Syria

More than 4,000 Iraqis from the northern city of Mosul have fled to Syria since the beginning of May, the UN has said, adding it is expecting up to 50,000 people to leave the ISIL-held city and cross the border.

Driving the refugee exodus appear to be reports that fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) armed group have stepped up executions of men and boys in Fallujah - the other major Iraqi city still in their hands - since pro-government forces launched an offensive to re-take the city, the UN's refugee agency said on Friday.

According to UNHCR, a total of 4,266 people arrived this month at the al-Hol camp, 14km from the Iraqi border in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province.

  • "We've seen actually a spike in the numbers of Iraqi refugees who are risking the dangerous crossing into Syria in a desperate bid. Just picture this, we have refugees fleeing to Syria," UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming said.

"The reasons for that are the pending battle to re-take it [Mosul]. They, I'm sure, hear what's going on in Fallujah and want to leave before they too are trapped. But also there is fighting in the surrounding areas that is driving people to leave."...


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