Skip to main content

Mosul adds to staggering world refugee crisis

With the highest number of refugees and displaced people since World War II and continued brutal conflicts in Syria, Iraq and beyond forcing millions to flee, humanitarians lament a broken system running from crisis to crisis.
Displaced people who fled Islamic State militants from Mosul receive aid at Deepaka camp in the northwest of Erbil, during an operation to attack Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani  - RTX2PQDQ

WASHINGTON — As the long-anticipated Iraqi military campaign to take Mosul from the Islamic State (IS) got underway this week, humanitarian aid groups warned of the plight of up to 1.5 million civilian inhabitants of the city, hundreds of thousands of whom may be displaced by fighting in the coming weeks. The United Nations said the scale of displacement that could be triggered by Mosul military operations, with estimates ranging from 200,000 to 1 million people, may pose one of the single biggest and most complex humanitarian challenges it has ever faced.

“Depending on the intensity and scope of the fighting, as many as 1 million people may be forced to flee their homes in a worst-case scenario,” Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, said Oct. 16.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.