Hundreds of families have fled northern Iraq as fighting rages on between Iraqi forces and Daesh militants, according to the Ministry of Migration and Displacement.
In a Saturday statement, ministry official Muhannad Saleh said 455 families have fled the northern Salahuddin province in the past two days.
“The ministry is pursuing efforts to evacuate and welcome families displaced from liberated areas,” he said.
Earlier this month, the Iraqi army launched an offensive north of the Salahuddin province with a view to recapturing Daesh-held areas.
The city of Sharqat is currently the only remaining area controlled by Daesh in the Salahuddin province.
According to Salahuddin mayor Ahmed al-Jabouri, more than 350,000 people are still trapped in Sharqat. Efforts are underway to liberate the area,” he said, going on to call for providing aid to these families.
UN estimates that more than two million Iraqis will flee northern Iraq following an expected Iraqi offensive to recapture Mosul from Daesh. Last week, the Iraqi army, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, retook the city of Fallujah from Daesh after a more than one-month battle.
Iraq has suffered a devastating security vacuum since mid-2014, when Daesh captured Mosul and overran large swathes of territory in the northern and western parts of the country.
According to the UN, more than 3.4 million people are now displaced in Iraq — more than half of them children — while more than 10 million are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.