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US Offers $181 million Humanitarian Aid as Iraq launches drive to recapture Mosul from Islamic State

There is no clear plan yet for how Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, will be managed if and when it is recaptured from Islamic State

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FILE - Hundreds of civilians flee villages outside Mosul a day after Iraqi Kurdish forces launched an operation east of Islamic State-held Mosul, Aug. 15, 2016. VOA
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  • The advance on Mosul, the biggest city held by the militant group also known as ISIL, could begin as soon as next month
  • The United Nations expects up to 1 million people could flee their homes in Mosul, the group’s de facto Iraqi capital
  • Critics say preparations for the humanitarian and political fallout have not kept pace with military gains

The United States said on Wednesday it would give Iraq $181 million in humanitarian aid, anticipating a wave of displaced people when Iraqi forces launch a drive to recapture the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State.

The advance on Mosul, the biggest city held by the militant group also known as ISIL, could begin as soon as next month.

“We are now in a position where ISIL here in Iraq is increasingly on the run and on the ropes, and the urgent work ahead is to complete that effort. And Mosul, of course, is the big piece ahead of Iraq and ahead of us,” Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters in Baghdad.

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On a visit to discuss planning for the offensive with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and other officials, he said the money would be used to the pre-position emergency food and relief supplies.

The United Nations expects up to 1 million people could flee their homes in Mosul, the group’s de facto Iraqi capital.

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Critics say preparations for the humanitarian and political fallout have not kept pace with military gains.

The additional aid brings U.S humanitarian assistance to more than $1 billion since 2014, when a U.S led coalition started bombing Islamic State in Iraq and neighboring Syria as well as providing training and advice to Iraq’s security forces.

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There is no clear plan yet for how Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, will be managed if and when it is recaptured, or how pro-government forces will be positioned to avoid aggravating ethnic and sectarian tensions in the diverse region.

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Blinken said Islamic State has lost half the Iraqi territory it seized in 2014 when the army and police dropped their weapons and fled despite billions of dollars of aid from Washington since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

He said the Mosul offensive would not be easy, and the timing was up to the Iraqis. Iraqi commanders have indicated the operation could start by late October.

Blinken is due to visit Erbil on Thursday to meet leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government, whose peshmerga forces are expected to participate in the Mosul campaign. (VOA)

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Indians Missing in Mosul: V.K. Singh in Iraq to Co-ordinate Search Opertion

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V.K Singh will co-ordinate search operation for 39 Indian
V.K Singh will co-ordinate search operation for 39 Indians who went Missing in Mosul. IANS

New Delhi, October 27: After the government sought DNA samples from the next of kin of the 39 Indians Missing in Mosul, Iraq three years ago, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh is again visiting the country to seek an update.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveeh Kumar said on Friday that Singh’s visit “is to talk to people”.

“He has met a range of people in Iraq. And also to get an update on the 39 missing Indians in Iraq,” Kumar said in his weekly media briefing here.

He said that on Thursday Singh was in Mosul city where the Indians went missing.

Last week, the families of the 39 Indians were asked to provide their DNA samples but no reason was provided, the kin said.

It was in June 2014 that the 39 Indians, mostly from Punjab, went missing in Mosul town when it was overrun by the Islamic State. Their families continue to hope the men are alive but also fear the worst.

Singh had visited Iraq in July too in this connection.(IANS)