Hundreds more displaced by Islamic State group in Iraq
April 3, Makhmour: Fighting between Iraqi forces and militants affiliated with the Islamic State group close to Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, has displaced over 2,000 people in the past week.
On one recent night, around a hundred people arrived on the outskirts of the town of Makhmour, in Iraq's semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region, having fled violence, reports said.
Until the beginning of 2015, civilians could move easily between Kirkuk and IS-held areas, but more recently the front lines have become almost impassable.
The U.N. estimates that there are 3.3 million internally displaced people across Iraq. The country has witnessed a surge in violence as government forces battle to contain the Islamic State group, which swept across Iraq in 2014 and still holds large swaths of territory in the north and west of the country.
Hassan Sabawi, a member of Nineveh's provincial council, said on Monday that the Kurdish regional government was planning to build a new, larger camp outside the nearby town of Dibaga, The Associated Press reported.
Chloe Coves, a spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency in Iraq, says her organization would only support the building of a new camp if they received assurances from Kurdish authorities that it would not be used as a detention center. She said it would be better for displaced families to be moved to the town of Makhmour, where hundreds of houses are standing empty.
In a twist of fate, many of the Arab residents of Makhmour fled when the front line passed through the city in 2014, and have not been allowed to return since. They, too, have been displaced by war.
The Oslo Times