Large-scale fighting in Mosul has ended, but the risks faced by Iraqis are diversifying, as sporadic pockets of insecurity and asymmetric attacks persist and sectarian violence increases. Grievances from years under Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are keenly felt, and retributive acts against alleged ISIL-affiliated families are increasing, most notably in Anbar, Diyala, Ninewa and Salah al-Din. The fear of retribution is hindering returns, and although over 2 million Iraqis have returned home, the rate of return in July was lower than in recent months.
The end of fighting in Mosul will not signal the end of the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, and millions of Iraqis will continue to need assistance well into 2018. As military operations in Mosul entered their final phase the rate at which people fled the city slowed. The cumulative number displaced since military operations began in October approaches 1 million as humanitarian needs among affected people continue to grow. Some 690,799 people are currently displaced to camps and host communities, 97 per cent of whom are from West Mosul.
The battle for Mosul is over but pockets of insecurity exist deep inside the Old City, trapping vulnerable civilians. Induced displacement continues, varying between 800 and 2,500 people per day since 11 July.
There is a need for continued relief assistance.
The humanitarian crisis in Iraq remains complex with multiple, unpredictable and volatile dynamics impacting civilians. The pace of displacement, and return, is one of the fastest on recent record. Since military operations began in Mosul in October 2016, about 780,000 people have been displaced from their homes, including over 600,000 people who have been forced to flee from the western neighbourhoods of Mosul city alone.
In April, the number of people displaced from Mosul rose to over half a million, around a fifth of whom have returned to their homes in east Mosul and surrounding areas. Over 80 per cent of people displaced from Mosul are sheltering in camps and emergency sites, but increasingly, people displaced from west Mosul and Tel Afar are choosing to go to host communities in east Mosul in order to reunite with their families. Elsewhere, displacement from Hawiga has slowed since the beginning of the year, reaching a standstill by the end of the month.
Movements of people continue to be complex and diverse across Iraq. Military operations in Mosul are displacing increasingly large numbers of people, especially since hostilities began in the west of the city in mid-February. The majority is sheltering in camps and emergency sites where humanitarian assistance is being provided. In other parts of the country displacement has slowed: for example, the number of people leaving Hawiga has been declining since the start of the year and has shifted in recent weeks, with more people now heading to Salah al-Din than to Kirkuk.
By the end of February 2017, 163,000 people were displaced by military operations to retake Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Following a pause, hostilities resumed in western Mosul on 19 February, leading to a spike in displacement. All people displaced from western Mosul have been accommodated with family members or in camps and emergency sites, where they receive a tented plot, basic household supplies, hygiene kits, and 30-day food rations. Camp expansion is rapidly accelerating to ensure capacity keeps pace with demand.