ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Dozens of families from Mosul have been displaced and fled westward to the al-Hawl camp in Rojava, northern Syria as Iraqi and Kurdish forces launched a massive assault against ISIS in the city on Monday.
An official from the al-Hawl camp, in the predominantly Kurdish city of Hasakah, said the number of Iraqi refugees has reached 6,100 persons and the figure is steadily rising.
“According to the latest data, the number of Iraqi refugees at the al-Hawl camp has reached 6,100,” said Diwar Ahmed, manager of the camp, adding that “apart from the Iraqis, some 3,500 internally displaced Syrians from Deir Ezzor, are also sheltering in the camp.”
An Iraqi refugee in the camp, Ahmed Jasim, said they fled Mosul, scared for their lives.
“The situation was miserable there. We all fled due to ISIS.”
Al-Hawl camp was originally built by the United Nations in 1991.
Tuesday marks the second day of the massive offensive to oust the radical group out of Mosul, driving the last nail into the group’s coffin in Iraq.
The Interior Ministry of the Kurdistan Regional Government estimated that, should the offensive last a matter of days, they expect 100,000 people to flee. If the offensive lasts for weeks, they estimate 400,000 will flee. And should the offensive be drawn out longer, they expect one million people will flee the city and its environs.
The United Nations said they are trying to inform civilians in Mosul not to move to the west when they flee the city because the UN and aid agencies do not have access to the territory there.
Lise Grande, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator, said on Monday that aid agencies are prepared to receive the majority of the people in the east, and some north and south of Mosul.
ISIS retains control to the west of Mosul so fleeing in that direction would be very dangerous, Grande said.