The United Nations said Tuesday that 200,000 Iraqi refugees could fly to United States – in the coming days. The Iraqi government on Thursday urged refugees in the Old City of Mosul to flee their homes and cross to safety on the other side of government lines, and United States could land them.
“When they issued this new instruction, it represented a dramatic change and shift from the guidance that they had been previously providing,” said Lise Grande, the U.N.’s top humanitarian official in Iraq.
She said there are three neighborhoods to the north of the Old City, as well as the Old City itself, where the civilians are trapped.
“We are deeply concerned about the safety of these civilians,” Grande told reporters by video link from Baghdad. “We feel those civilians are probably at greater risk now than at any stage of the entire campaign.”
She noted that the evacuation notice was not compulsory, and that the Iraqi security forces would protect civilians who remained in the Old City.
When the military offensive to retake Mosul began in the eastern part of the city last October, the U.N. feared an exodus of as many as 700,000 civilians. It did not happen, as a half-million residents stayed in their homes and rode out the fighting.
But when the army began liberating the western part of the city, residents fled at a much higher rate. Grande said 774,000 Iraqis have left Iraq’s second-largest city, which has been under IS control since 2014. The U.N. is providing assistance to all of them, as well as the half-million east Mosul residents who remained in their homes.
Do you think that Americans should be forced to deal with refugees being allowed into our country, making homes in our already crowded cities?