United Nations warns of growing humanitarian crisis with ISIS overtaking Iraqi towns
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/4/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
The United Nations warns that up to 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes after militants took over more towns in northern Iraq. Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS militants are reported to have taken over the town of Sinjar near Syria. The takeover of the town of Zumar and two nearby oilfields from Kurdish Peshmerga forces this past weekend precede the recent incursion.
The onslaught continues. Iraqi state television reported that the militants also took control of Mosul Dam on Sunday after the withdrawal of Kurdish forces.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Islamic State has also seized large parts northern Iraq from government control in a major offensive in June. A "humanitarian tragedy is unfolding in Sinjar," U.N. special envoy to Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, says.
"The United Nations has grave concerns for the physical safety of these civilians" he added.
"The humanitarian situation of these civilians is reported as dire, and they are in urgent need of basic items including food, water and medicine" he added.
Many of those who fled are at risk for exposure in mountains near the town. In the meantime, many of those in Sinjar are believed to have fled from earlier IS advances in northern Iraq.
Kurdish military forces, known as the Peshmerga, were also forced to retreat from the nearby town of Zumar on Saturday after a militant offensive.
Kurdish forces had held the town since the Iraqi army retreated from the area in June.
IS already controls several other oil installations in northern Iraq, which are believed to fund its activities.
The onslaught continues. Iraqi state television reported that the militants also took control of Mosul Dam on Sunday after the withdrawal of Kurdish forces. This is significant, as the dam is the largest in Iraq and provides much of Mosul's electricity.
Clashes between the Iraqi army and Sunni militants continued near the town of Jufr al-Sakhar further south, military officials said.
The Iraqi army said it conducted several airstrikes on militants in the center of the town, which lies about 60 km south-west of Baghdad.
The town was captured by the militants last week.
The fighting this summer has been one of the worst crises to hit Iraq since the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 2011.
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