Humanitarian tragedy unfolds after ISIL seizes more N Iraqi towns

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Baharka camp, 5km north of Erbil in northern Iraq, thousands of IDPs forced from their homes by ISIL.Photo: Emma Beals/IRIN

A humanitarian tragedy is unfolding in two northern Iraqi towns after militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took control, triggering the flight of as many as 200,000 civilians.

The UN special envoy to Iraq, Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, confirmed on Sunday the capture of nearly all Sinjar and Tal Afar districts in the Ninewa Province.

The Islamist militants also seized the oil fields of Ain Zala and Batma, bordering the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, he said.

According to reports, the majority of civilians who fled are from the religious minority Yezidi community.

The United Nations has expressed grave concerns for the physical safety of those civilians trapped now in the Jebel Sinjar area and surrounded by ISIL militants.

The humanitarian situation of these civilians is reported as dire as they lack basic items such as food, water and medicine.

ISIL and its allies have taken control of several cities and regions in northern Iraq in recent weeks.

They are accused of gross human rights violations, some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including targeting and killing civilians.

The UN in Iraq has called on the authorities in Baghdad and in the northern city of Erbil in the Kurdish region to cooperate urgently to ensure life-saving aid is delivered to civilians fleeing the violence.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1'31''


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