Nearly 100,000 Iraqis flee battle for west Mosul

A displaced Iraqi boy from Mosul walks under the rain at the Hamam al-Alil camp on March 13, 2017

Nearly 100,000 Iraqis have fled the battle to retake west Mosul from the Islamic State jihadist group, the International Organization for Migration said on Wednesday.

Iraqi forces launched a major push last month to recapture west Mosul, which is the most populated urban area still held by IS, with an estimated 750,000 residents when the battle began.

Between February 25 and March 15, more than 97,000 people have been displaced from west Mosul, the IOM said on its official Twitter account.

It marks an increase of around 17,000 from the displacement figure the IOM released the previous day, though this does not necessarily indicate that all of those additional people fled in the past 24 hours.

IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes have since retaken most of the territory they lost.

Iraqi forces launched the operation to recapture Mosul from IS in October, retaking its east before setting their sights on its smaller but more densely populated west.

According to the IOM, more than 238,000 people are currently displaced due to fighting in the Mosul area, while more fled but later returned to their homes.