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500,000 Iraqi Forced to Flee From Mosul Takeover - IOM

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By Ma Evelyn Castino Quilas | June 12, 2014 5:04 PM EST

An estimated 500,000 Iraqis have been forced to flee from Mosul, Ninewa governorate, the second largest city in Iraq after Armed Opposition Groups (AOG) completely took over the city according to International Organization for Migration (IOM).

REUTERS
Iraqi security forces leave a military base as Kurdish forces take over control in Kirkuk June 11, 2014. Baghdadwill cooperate with Kurdish forces to try to drive militants out of Mosul, Iraq's foreign minister said on Wednesday, a day after an al Qaeda splinter group seized the country's second biggest city.

In an article from IOM Web site, the organisation discovered three patterns of movement from the 500,000 Iraqi who fled from their homes. There were internally displaced persons (IDP) who moved from the west portion to the east portion of Mosul. There were also IDPs who moved over to other areas of Ninewa governorate. Meanwhile, those who have families or sponsors to receive permission to enter in Kurdistan Region (KR) moved over to that area from Mosul City.

The organisation's Rapid Assessment and Response Teams (RARTs) have been tracking the ground situation in an around the city. The organisation stated that Mosul has implemented a curfew since Thursday, June 5. Then two days after, heavy shooting erupted between the AOGs and the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) ending in large casualties.

By Monday evening, the AOGs took over the Mosul International Airport, television stations, the governor's office, and all military and police stations. Police and soldiers ran from their posts leaving their weapons behind.

The organisation also mentioned that injured civilians caught between the militant AOGs and the government forces could not access the main health campus since it is located at the middle of the fighting scene. Instead, the casualties were treated at the mosques-turned-clinics.

IOM also cited that the people who fled feared for their lives with the continued indiscriminate gunfire in and around the city. The IDPs travelled on foot to the above-mentioned locations since they were not allowed to use vehicles.

An anonymous video post on Facebook showed the situation in Mosul. In the video, burning military vehicles, empty streets, police mobiles driven by militant groups, and debris of stripped uniforms from soldiers and policemen can be seen.

The situation could still get worse in the days to come. According to a 17-minute audio recording posted on CNN Web site, a voice can be heard saying: "Continue your march as the battle is not yet raging. It will rage in Baghdad and Karbala. So be ready for it." CNN believed that the voice belongs to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani although it could not yet confirm the authenticity of the audio.

CNN also mentioned that the chaos in Mosul could have an unwelcomed impact on oil markets in the United States and other western countries.

Click here to watch the video showing the situation in Mosul, Ninewa governorate, Iraq. To listen to the audio recording, please click here.

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(Photo: REUTERS / Stringer)
Iraqi security forces leave a military base as Kurdish forces take over control in Kirkuk June 11, 2014. Baghdadwill cooperate with Kurdish forces to try to drive militants out of Mosul, Iraq's foreign minister said on Wednesday, a day after an al Qaeda splinter group seized the country's second biggest city.
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