Rojava receives 17,000 Iraqi refugees as fight in Western Mosul intensifies

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Mosul refugees on the Syrian-Iraqi border. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

More than 17,000 Iraqi refugees crossed the border into Syria’s northeastern Hasakah Governorate and received shelter from the Kurdish-led Rojava Self Administration, officials said on Monday.

“Iraqi civilians displaced by the ongoing Mosul operation have been crossing the border into Rojava on a daily basis. However, the numbers increased dramatically in the last few days,” a Kurdish official told ARA News.

Local sources confirmed that the majority of Iraqi refugees were sheltered in the al-Hawl Camp in Hasakah.

“Most of them are women and children who are in need for urgent assistance,” Berivan Hussein, a member of the Hawl Camp administration, told ARA News. “We are trying to help them despite our limited capacities.”

“They’ve escaped a mounting violence in Mosul to seek a safe haven. We’ll continue to support the Iraqi refugees with the hope that Mosul would be liberated from ISIS soon and the displaced people could return home,” she said.

The Kurdish-led Self-Administration of Rojava confirmed that its local committees in Hasakah have provided thousands of Iraqi families with shelter.

In November, Northern Syria – Rojava asked the UN to provide short-term assistance to help those fleeing from the Islamic State. The de facto autonomous region also charged its local committees with assisting the civilians who reached Hasakah.

While their intentions were altruistic, Rojavan authorities struggled to care for the massive influx of refugees from Mosul city and internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor Governorates.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) delivered humanitarian aid to al-Hawl Camp on 5 December for the first time.

This comes amid intensifying military operations by the US-backed Iraqi troops in Western Mosul.

In January, the Iraqi forces captured Eastern Mosul after 100 days of heavy fighting.

On February 19, the Iraqi Army launched a battle for Western Mosul –the last ISIS stronghold in Iraq’s second largest city.

On February 24, dozens of ISIS militants surrendered to the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) west of Mosul city, military sources reported.

The Iraqi Army’s Central Command said in a statement that a group of ISIS jihadists surrendered to the ISF after heavy clashes at the western side of Mosul city, in Iraq’s northwestern Nineveh Governorate, officials told ARA News.

Backed by an air cover from the US-led coalition, the Iraqi troops also seized control of the Mosul Military Airport.

Reporting by: Qehreman Miste | Source: ARA News

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