02:15 GMT +319 June 2018
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    Iraqi security forces ride on a vehicle in Qayyarah, during an operation to attack Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq

    UN: Up to Million Civilians Could Flee Mosul, Military Must Guarantee Safe Exit

    © REUTERS / Alaa Al-Marjani
    Middle East
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    The Iraqi military must give safe exit to up to a million civilians that could flee Mosul in a worst-case scenario as the Iraqi offensive gains steam, a UN expert on the internally displaced warned Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to the UN statement, the worst-case scenario could see the majority of the city’s 1.5 million population leave Daesh stronghold, with 700,000 of them requesting emergency shelter. As many as 200,000 people are expected to flee in the first weeks.

    "While humanitarian agencies have put in place preparedness measures ahead of the offensive … arrangements for safe exit in dignity have not been given enough attention… All personnel engaged in military operations must comply with applicable standards in this regard," Chaloka Beyani, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, said in a statement.

    Beyani stressed that screening procedures must not prevent their escape, despite fears that IS militants could mix up with the crowds. People must also be given access to food, water and medical care.

    Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced on Monday the start of a long-awaited operation to retake the key northern city from Daesh militants with air support from the US-led international coalition. The Pentagon warned that jihadists could use trapped civilians as human shields.


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    civilians, United Nations, Mosul
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