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    Iraqi security forces advance in Qayara, south of Mosul, to attack Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, October 18, 2016

    Number of Civilians Fleeing Mosul Amid Military Operation 'Not Huge' - Red Cross

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    The International Committee of the Red Cross considers the number of people fleeing from Mosul amid the liberation operation as not very high.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Number of people fleeing Mosul amid the ongoing military operation to liberate it from Daesh is not that huge at the moment as the hostilities have not reached "the heart of the city" so far, the spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Iraq told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    "The forces haven’t reached to the heart of Mosul city. Up to now, operations are going in different small areas and in the areas around Mosul, in the outskirts of the city. There isn't that massive influx of civilians fleeing yet. Some civilians are fleeing from the outskirts but the number is not huge," Sara Zawqari said.

    On Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced the start of the military operation to retake Mosul from Daesh militants. According to local media, about 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and 4,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters are taking part in the operation, backed by airstrikes carried out by the US-led international coalition.

    Stephen Ryan, communications coordinator for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Federation (IFRC) called on all the parties to the conflict to ensure access of aid organization to people who need humanitarian assistance.

    "We… appeal to all parties to the conflict to grant unimpeded access to any humanitarian organization working to protect and assist people affected by hostilities," the communications coordinator told Sputnik.

    He added that the decision by Baghdad to introduce humanitarian corridors for civilians fleeing Daesh-held Mosul, announced on Tuesday, is in line with the calls of the IFRC.

    On Tuesday, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society recorded that 60 displaced people from the village of Abbas arrived in the Al Qayyarah subdistrict of the Nineveh province following the liberation of areas around Mosul.

    Mosul, the second biggest Iraqi city, as well as a number of other northern and western Iraqi cities and towns, was seized in 2014 during an offensive of Daesh extremists, outlawed in Russia.

    On Sunday, the ICRC spokeswoman told Sputnik that the operation to liberate Mosul from Daesh may cause a humanitarian disaster forcing up to one million civilians to flee the city.

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    Military Operation to Retake Mosul From Daesh (225)

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    International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Stephen Ryan, Sara Zawqari, Iraq, Mosul
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