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The Battle for Mosul, Iraq
Emergency Update

More than 800,000 people have fled their homes since the military operation to retake Mosul began on October 17, 2016. The vast majority of the displaced—more than 630,000 people—are from the western side of Mosul city, where fighting began in February and continues today. Some 118,000 people are estimated to still be trapped in west Mosul, while trauma injuries remain high. More than 13,000 people have been transferred to hospitals for medical treatment since the start of the offensive last year.

Why is there a battle for Mosul and who is involved?

Mosul had a population of about two million people when ISIL fighters captured the city in June 2014. About half a million residents fled rather than face being forced to live under the uncompromising brutality of ISIL rule. In October 2016, Iraqi Government and coalition forces launched an offensive to retake the city. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are feared trapped inside Mosul, without access to humanitarian assistance and unable to flee to safety.

Why is Mosul important?

The stakes in the battle for Mosul are high. For ISIL, the city has served as an anchor in Iraq to balance the group’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqah, a major city about 50 miles south of the Turkish border. For the Government of Iraq, retaking Mosul would mean regaining control of its second-largest city, a hub of key industrial and trade significance.

What are some of the conditions civilians are facing?

Iraqi Security Forces are now in control of east Mosul, allowing humanitarian organizations to deliver aid to residents. However, shortages of drinking water remain a primary concern, while sporadic attacks by ISIL cause casualties and disrupt service delivery. Trauma casualty rates remain high near the frontline areas and west Mosul is still held by ISIL, making it impossible for humanitarian organizations to reach civilians with life-saving assistance.


Years of war, insurgency and bitter sectarian violence in Iraq has taken its toll on the country.

  • Over 800,000 people have fled Mosul district and surrounding areas since October 17. Some 118,000 people are estimated to be trapped inside west Mosul, with no access to aid.
  • More than 3 million Iraqis are displaced from their homes due to conflict and more than 10 million, nearly a third of Iraq’s population, need some form of humanitarian assistance.
  • Civilian trauma injuries remain high, with more than 13,000 people injured by gunshots, mines, shelling, and mortar fire from October 17, 2016 to June 3, 2017.
  • International Medical Corps is providing health care and other emergencies services to those displaced and affected by the battle for Mosul.

Our Programs

Emergency Health Services

International Medical Corps worked with eight clinics in eastern Mosul to get them ready to once again care for patients. This includes restocking medicines, supplying generator fuel, and repairing the buildings themselves, including fixing damage came from being hit in the crossfire. Under ISIL, many clinics were forced to closed or operate with very limited capacity. This means that many people have gone without care for years, including those with chronic medical conditions like diabetes. International Medical Corps also has primary health facilities in Khazer, Jeda’a, and Hammam al-Alil displacement camps south and east of Mosul that provide much-needed medical services to those families who were forced to flee their homes because of the conflict. To build capacity within Mosul to care for trauma injuries, International Medical Corps also trained 120 residents from across Mosul in first aid and response.

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

International Medical Corps integrated mental health care into all of its primary health care clinics so that patients have access to counseling and support services. Doctors and nurses in International Medical Corps clinics—as well as those supported in eastern Mosul—are also trained in mental health care and psychosocial support so that basic emotional and psychological needs can be addressed and referrals for higher-level care can be made as needed.

Gender Based Violence

International Medical Corps has established safe spaces for women and girls in Jeda’a and Hammam al-Alil displacement sites. These spaces allow for psychosocial activities as well as gender-based violence (GBV) case management support. These are activities are connected to our primary health care network so that medical care, mental health and psychosocial support, and other services can be provided as needed. At the same time, GBV outreach workers run community-based prevention and response campaigns, identify vulnerable women and girls, inform them of available services, and make referrals if needed.

Community Health Care Workers

We are also training local people to become community health workers, who then help their peers stay healthy through education and connecting them to our medical facilities. We have community health workers meeting with families and organizing educational events in eastern Mosul as well as Jeda’a and Khazer displacement camps.

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Iraq Capabilities Statement

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