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Over 100,000 civilians flee homes in Mosul due to ongoing operations to free it from Islamic State (ISIS) Terrorist Group

Nearly 1,00,000 residents have been forced to flee their homes because of the ongoing operation to free western Mosul from IS militants

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Islamic State militants flaunt an armored vehicle seized from Iraqi security forces in the northern Iraq city of Mosul on June 23, 2014. VOA
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Baghdad, March 13, 2017: The ongoing operations to free the western side of Mosul from Islamic State (IS) terrorists have pushed up to 100,000 civilians to flee their homes, the Iraqi government said on Sunday.

“The latest statistics of the Iraqi ministry of migration shows 99,852 displaced people since the launch of operations to free the neighbourhoods of Mosul’s right bank (western side),” Xinhua quoted a statement by Jassim Mohammed al-Jaf, Minister of Migration and Displaced.

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On Sunday, teams affiliated to the ministry received 10,607 civilians who left their homes from the battleground of the neighbourhoods of western Mosul, Jaf said.

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The migration ministry prepared appropriate places to shelter the displaced people and provided emergency supplies, including food and medicine, Jaf added.

The announcement came as the Iraqi security forces were pushing deeper into the IS-held western side of Mosul, locally known as right bank of Tigris River, which bisects the city.

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The troops dislodged IS terrorists from several neighbourhoods in the southern part of Mosul’s western side, including the main government buildings in the old city centre. (IANS)

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US Backtracks on Iraqi, Kurd Cease-fire Claim

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An Iraqi soldier removes a Kurdish flag from Altun Kupri
An Iraqi soldier removes a Kurdish flag from Altun Kupri on the outskirts of Irbil, Iraq. VOA

Iraq, October 27: The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State announced Friday morning a cease-fire between Iraqi forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga in Northern Iraq but quickly backtracked on the claim, saying it is not an “official” cease-fire.

Army spokesman Ryan Dillon posted a clarification on Twitter to say “both parties (are) talking with one another,” but that a “cease-fire” had not been reached.

The Iraqi military and the Kurdish minority have been clashing for several weeks after the Iraqi troops moved to secure areas in northern Iraq that had been seized from IS jihadists by Kurdish forces. The Kurdish forces abandoned the land largely without resistance, though low-level clashes have been reported.

Iraqi PM rejects Kurdish offer

The areas Iraqi forces are moving into were mostly under Baghdad’s control in 2014, when Islamic State militants swept into the region. Kurdish Peshmerga and coalition forces recaptured the lands, and the Kurdistan Region has since held them.

The Iraqi leadership said it is retaking the areas to establish federal authority after a Kurdish referendum for independence in September threatened the nation’s unity. More than 92 percent of Kurds in Iraq voted “yes” in a vote Baghdad called illegal, and the international community leaders said was dangerous and ill-timed.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Thursday rejected an offer by Kurdish leaders to freeze the results of their independence referendum in favor of dialogue in order to avoid further conflict.

The Kurdistan Regional Government, in a statement, said the confrontations have hurt both sides and could lead to ongoing bloodshed and social unrest in Iraq.

“Certainly, continued fighting does not lead any side to victory, but it will drive the country towards disarray and chaos, affecting all aspects of life,” the KRG said.

‘Unified Iraq is the only way to go’

Abadi said in a statement his government will accept only the annulment of the referendum and respect for the constitution.

During a briefing Friday morning at the Pentagon, Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie Jr. told reporters the U.S. believes “a unified Iraq is the only way to go forward.”

He added, “We’re not helping anyone attack anyone else inside Iraq, either the Kurds or the Iraqis.”(VOA)