On the run from ISIS.
On October 17 the military operation went underway to free Mosul, the Iraqi city in Kurdinstan’s autonomous region, the de facto capital of the Islamic State since June 2014. In little over a month the anti-Isis coalition led by the Iraqi security forces and supported by Kurdish peshmerga, irianian shiah militia, and Turkey-backed sunni militia, has managed to liberate much of the city from the self-proclaimed Caliphate militiamen, freeing tens of thousands of civilians who had been living under siege.
Many of them, however, are still living in fear and cannot leave the city as they are being held hostage by the Islamic State as part of a defense strategy that prevents civilians from leaving their houses, setting up road blocks controlled by snipers and blowing up the houses of those who have fled as deterrent.
As the coalition advances, growing numbers of civilians manage to flee and those who succeed in escaping ISIS controlled areas are escorted by the Iraqi coalition forces towards safe zones in the city. Here refugees are transferred by trucks and buses to the temporary camps which have been set up by the UNHCR at a short distance from the city.
There are currently over 100 thousand people who are thought to have fled Mosul, and are now considered Internally Displaced People, refugees in their own country.
Khazer, one of such camps, currently hosts roughly 15,000 people. It is located south-east of Mosul and is managed by the Barzani foundation, affiliated with the Kurdish Peshmerga. Before accessing the camp, every individual must go through a thorough security and identification process after which they are assigned a tent. Most of the people now living in the camp anxiously await to see the arrival of those relatives still under siege and trapped in the ISIS controlled areas, while others hope to return soon to their homes.
Although the camps had been set up swiftly in preparation for the offensive, the UN has expressed deep concern for the growing number of people fleeing Mosul and the neighbouring villages, and estimates the number of potential displaced people at around one million who will be in need of shelter for the upcoming months.
The photos were taken on November 20 between Mosul and the Khazir refugee camp in the Kurdistan autonomous region of Iraq.