News in Brief 21 August 2017 (PM)

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Iraqi refugee children who fled from Tal Afar and found shelter in schools, mosques and unfinished buildings in the area of Sinjar, in Ninawa governorate. Photo: Iraqi Red Crescent/UNOCHA

UN readying to support civilians fleeing from Iraqi city

The UN and its humanitarian partners in Iraq are preparing for the exodus of thousands of civilians from Telafar as the army battles to retake the northern city and surrounding communities from the extremist group ISIL, also known as Daesh.

The operation began on Sunday and so far, up to 40,000 people have already fled the area.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Lise Grande reported that families have walked for up to 20 hours in extreme heat to escape Telafar, which is running out of food and water.

More details from UN Spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric.

"Ms Grande stressed the importance of protecting civilians during conflict, calling on parties to avoid civilian casualties and ensure that people have the assistance they are entitled to under international humanitarian law. The Iraqi Government is leading the humanitarian operation, with assistance from aid partners who are also providing life-saving assistance and helping families when they reach emergency camps."

Aid convoy reaches two Syrian towns

An aid convoy has delivered life-saving assistance to 84,000 people in two hard-to-reach towns in Syria which were last accessed in June, the United Nations has reported.

The inter-agency convoy arrived in Talbiseh, located in Homs, and Tlul Elhomor in Hama, on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, has expressed concern over the safety and protection of up to 25,000 civilians trapped in Ar-Raqqa city as a result of fighting.

Many are women and children.

At least 40 people where killed on Sunday due to airstrikes that reportedly hit a residential building in a neighbourhood there.

OCHA said while tens of thousands have fled the city, those remaining face severe movement restrictions, while food and water supplies are dwindling.

Afghanistan: UN mission verifies allegations of deadly village attack

The UN mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, has verified allegations that the Taliban and local self-proclaimed fighters with the extremist group ISIL or Daesh killed at least 36 people during an attack earlier this month in Mirza Olang village, located in the north.

Both civilians and pro-government militia members were killed.

The findings have been released as part of a human rights report on the incident, which took place between 3-5 August.

UNAMA said at least 18 people were killed on Saturday, 5 August, when the attackers stopped families trying to escape the village, separating women and young children.

Mission chief Tadamichi Yamamoto has condemned the attack, stating that the targeting of civilians is a clear violation of international law.

Those responsible must be held accountable, he added.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.


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