‘Unimaginable risk to life’ possible as Iraq forces help dozens of civilians escape Mosul, warns the UN
The UN has warned of a possible ‘unimaginable risk to life’ as the Iraq forces continue to pave way for the escape of civilians. Iraq forces are on the ground fighting IS militants and providing a safe passage for the escape of civilians who are mostly women and children.
Iraq forces have managed to single out a number of safe exit routes aimed at enabling civilians to flee from IS militants who have been in charge of the Old City since 2014.
The UN has voiced its concerns over the continued rise in the death toll of civilians since the war against IS militants began. Many civilians are feared to be trapped in the ruins of the Old City and many are feared dead due to the lack of food and water among other necessities.
Iraq troops are still battling to regain full control of the Old City, a fight which appears to be going in their favor. The intensity of the fighting between the two sides has been more significant than expected owing to the importance of the city. This is the last major city under the grasp of the IS militants.
The Iraq’s urban warfare unit has been fighting from two perpendicular streets which meet in the Old City’s heart as they aim at isolating the jihadists.
The fight has only been ongoing for a week, but it has since turned out to be the deadliest since the US led coalition forces and the Iraq forces joined arms to launch the offensive against IS militants eight months ago. So far, the offensive to regain the northern city from the IS militants is going in the favor of the US led coalition forces and the Iraq forces along with their allies.
But, the number of civilians who have lost their lives and those in danger of losing theirs has continued to rise. The UN officials who are on the ground trying to assist the injured and fleeing survivors have already expressed their fears of losing more civilians as the intensity of the fighting escalates.
“I saw a young girl in a dazed and shocked state walking with facial injuries alongside her neighbors as the group emerged out of a densely populated district. Her entire family was killed when the house they were living in collapsed on them,” said a UN official who was recounting the experience to shed light on the current civilian situation in the Old City.
As many as 12 civilians are feared dead and hundreds severely injured since the onset of the war on Friday, according to the UN report.
“The fighting is very intense and the civilians within the borders of the Old City are at a very high risk of losing their lives. There are also fears of hundreds or even thousands that are being used as human shields by IS militants,” said the Lise Grande the coordinator of humanitarian affairs in Iraq for the UN.