MOSCOW, August 19 (RIA Novosti) - The UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR) is planning to supply 500,000 Iraqis forced out of their homes by Islamic State (IS) militants with humanitarian aid, UNHCR spokesman said Tuesday.
"This is a very, very significant aid push and certainly one of the largest I can recall in quite a while," UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told a news briefing in Geneva on Tuesday.
Initial aid shipments will be delivered by air from Jordan to Irbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq. The operation will start on Wednesday and deliveries will be made in the course of the following four days. Some of the aid will be delivered by land from Turkey and Jordan and by sea from Dubai via Iran.
The UN aid will include 3,000 tents, 20,000 sheets of plastic for shelter, 18,500 kitchen utensil sets.
According to UN estimates, about 1.2 million Iraqis have lost their homes in the past year, as IS militants swept through the north and west of the country. About 200,000 have settled in Iraq's Kurdistan region since August.
The Islamic State reportedly controls most oil and gas fields in Iraq and Syria and sells crude oil to finance its networks in Damascus and Baghdad. Formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), the radical Sunni group has been fighting in Syria against the country’s president, Bashar Assad. In June, IS militants launched an offensive in Iraq. Later that month, the radicals announced that they established a caliphate on the territory they control forcing hundreds of thousands of people, including ethnic and religious minorities, to flee.
According to UNHCR, at least 11,000 people from the Yazidi religious minority have taken shelter in Syria, and about 300 more are crossing the Peshkabour border into Iraq each day.