Europe’s Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides with Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani on Wednesday. Photo: Courtesy of the Kurdistan Region Presidency
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Kurdish leaders welcomed on Thursday Europe’s Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management; they discussed the upcoming battle to liberate Mosul, the expected mass displacement that will result, and the need to help both the displaced and the host communities.
Commissioner Christos Stylianides met separately with Kurdish President Masoud Barzani, Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and the Kurdistan cabinet, Governor of Nineveh Nofel Hamadi, and Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim.
“Mr. Stylianides thanked President Barzani and the Kurdistan Region for the provision of protection and all other forms of assistance to the refugees from Syria and the IDPs from the rest of Iraq,” reads a statement issued from Barzani’s office. “That support, Mr. Stylianides stated is of enormous value to the international community.”
Barzani also raised during the meeting his concerns for the post-liberation management of Mosul “and how that process will certainly be of greater difficulty than the military operation.”
Stylianides, on Twitter, described his meetings with the Kurdish leaders as “very productive” and said that “creative solutions” were needed for the expected massive displacement of citizens of Mosul and Nineveh.
On Monday, during his visit to Iraq, Stylianides announced €104 million ($115 million) in funding of humanitarian assistance for Iraq.
"I have always said Iraq can become another Syria, another major humanitarian emergency of global scale,” Stylianides said. “So we have to act and the EU is doing just that by leading the international humanitarian efforts. We did this recently in Fallujah and we will continue our solidarity with the Iraqi people."
The €104 million is a part of the €194 million the EU announced at the pledging conference in Washington last week.
Approximately 1 million people are expected to flee Mosul when the operation to liberate the city takes place. Kurdish provinces are preparing to receive hundreds of thousands but are already struggling to provide basic necessities.