NEW YORK, November 19 (Sputnik) — UN top humanitarian Valerie Amos has warned of a deepening crisis in Iraq, where 5.2 million people now need assistance in a country that has seen little, but chaos since the US-led invasion of 2003.
"This is not the first time Iraq has experienced a humanitarian crisis. Iraqis are already weary of the decades of sectarian violence and war which destroyed the country's institution. One million people are internally displaced people from previous Gulf wars," Amos, under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, told the UN Security Council Tuesday.
Amos said advances by militants from the Islamic State (IS), which is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), displaced several hundred thousand people in Iraq's Anbar Governorate at the start of the year.
Over the past ten weeks, more than 200,000 Iraqis have been forced from their homes by violence in Anbar, Ninewa, Sala al Din, Kirkuk and Diyala governorates, according to Amos. Over 100,000 Iraqis have been registered as refugees in neighboring countries so far this year.
"The crisis in Iraq is first and foremost a protection crisis with intense violence and brutality, being meted out on civilians from all religious and ethnic backgrounds," said Amos. "Women have been specifically targeted with daily reports of kidnapped women and girls from Yezidi and other communities being sold into marriage and sexual servitude to militants."
IS, a brutal and sectarian jihadist group controlling a Sunni-majority zone that straddles the Iraqi-Syrian border, is fighting Iraqi and Kurdish forces that are backed by air strikes by a US-led coalition of Western and Arab nations.
IS has fought the Syrian government since 2012. It then extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq in a lightening advance in June 2014 and declared the creation of an Islamic caliphate on the territories over which it had control.