Geneva, July 15 (IANS) The battle to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State has forced more than a million Iraqis to flee, of which only 220,000 have been able to return home, an intergovernmental organisation reported on Friday.
The International Organisation for Migration said that clashes between armed forces and extremists forced 1,048,044 people to leave their homes during the nearly nine-month offensive. the Efe reported.
Until Friday, the number of displaced was 825,000, given that in the last stage of the battle, IOM recorded an additional displacement of 380,000 Iraqis from the west of Mosul to its east, the organization’s spokesman, Joel Millman, said at a press conference.
The eastern part of Mosul, recovered by Iraqi troops earlier this year, has welcomed many of the new displaced by the fighting, after Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi announced its end four days ago.
About 95 per cent of those still displaced are taking refuge in Nineveh province, whose capital is Mosul, with the hope of returning to their homes when circumstances permit.
According to the IOM, only five per cent of the displaced went to other Iraqi provinces, and more than 220,000 have already been able to return to their homes in the liberated areas of Mosul.
The UN agency gathered information through ongoing visits by its teams to 70 neighbourhoods in eastern Mosul.
The city of Mosul was the main stronghold of the IS, since the group occupied it in June 2014, until its expulsion in July by joint Iraqi forces, in an offensive that began in October 2016.