Over 7,000 Iraqi civilians have managed to flee the Daesh-held city of Fallujah via a safe corridor set up by Iraqi government forces that have encircled the city, says the UN.
“The people coming out of Fallujah lost everything…They are running with absolutely nothing,” said UN deputy representative to Iraq Lise Grande on Monday. “More than 7,000 people have come out just in the past few days,” she said.
She added that the camps set up outside the city are currently not adequate to deal with the large number of refugees, and that the conditions in the city are much worse than previously thought.
The UN representative noted that the people of the city — which fell to Daesh in 2014 — are suffering from “widespread food deprivation.”
She further said that the Iraqi forces are currently trying to set up a second safe exit route from the city.
Noting that some 50,000 civilians might be trapped in the city, she censored the lack of international funding for the efforts. “This is the time to stand up in solidarity with the people terrorized by Daesh,” she said.
On Sunday, the Iraqi army announced that the exit route, known as al-Salam (Peace) Junction, had been secured to the southwest of the city.
Iraqi government forces prepare a mortar launcher on the outskirts of Fallujah during a military operation to retake the territory from the Takfiris on June 12, 2016. (AFP)
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi recently announced that the offensive to liberate Fallujah has been slowed down due to fears for the safety of civilians being used as human shield.
Iraqi forces have been engaged in a major offensive to free Fallujah, located in the western province of Anbar. The large-scale push for the liberation of the city started on May 23.
Meanwhile, Anbar police chief, Hadi Rzayej, has announced that more than 500 suspected Daesh members have been arrested from among the civilians fleeing the city.