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42,000 displaced since start of Mosul assault — IOM

By AFP - Nov 10,2016 - Last updated at Nov 10,2016

Iraqis displaced by fighting in Mosul line up for food distribution at a camp for internally displaced people in Hassan Sham, Iraq, on Tuesday (AP photo)

BAGHDAD — Nearly 42,000 people have fled their homes since last month's start of the operation to recapture Mosul from the Daesh terror group, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Wednesday.

Aid organisations have warned that more than a million people could be displaced in the battle for Mosul, and while it has not yet reached that scale, the numbers are growing.

The IOM said on its displacement tracking web page that 41,988 people have been "displaced as a result of the ongoing Mosul operations which began on 17 October 2016". 

That was an increase of more than 7,000 from the figure the IOM gave the previous day.

The IOM said a significant part of that increase was the result of new counts of people who were already present in camps, though more were also still arriving.

The vast majority of those displaced are from the Mosul area, but the IOM has also included people from several other provinces in its figures.

While the worst-case scenario has not materialised so far, Iraqi forces have yet to push deep into the city, and the number of people fleeing could increase dramatically when that occurs.

Both Mosul residents and the United Nations have reported that Daesh has forcibly gathered civilians for possible use as human shields. 

Daesh overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes have since regained significant ground, and Mosul is now the last Daesh-held city in the country.

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