Civilians trapped in Mosul could
face worst catastrophe in Iraq conflict
Iraqi woman waits to enter Hammam al-Alil
camp, south of Mosul, Iraq, April 8, 2017.
REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
The fighting in the Islamic State-held
Old City of Mosul, where hundreds of
thousands of Iraqi civilians are trapped,
could turn into the worst humanitarian
“catastrophe” in the war against the
militants, the United Nations warned on
“If there is a siege and hundreds of
thousands of people don’t have water and
don’t have food, they will be at enormous
risk,” U.N. humanitarian coordinator for
Iraq Lise Grande told Reuters in a telephone
“We could be facing a humanitarian
catastrophe, perhaps the worst in the entire
conflict,” she added.
Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq,
was captured by the ultra-hardline Sunni
Muslim fighters in mid 2014.
Iraqi government forces have taken back
most of it in a U.S.-backed offensive
launched in October, including the half that
lies east of the Tigris river.
The militants are now surrounded in the
northwestern quarter including the historic
Old City, using booby traps, sniper and
mortar fire against the assailants.
The United Nations said recently that
battles between the Islamic State and Iraqi
forces had displaced more than half a
million civilians since October 2016.