At least 3.1 million people displaced in Iraq

According to the IOM Iraq Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), more than 3.1 million people have been uprooted in Iraq from beginning of 2014 to July 2015

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Displaced Sunnis, who fled the violence in the city of Ramadi, arrive at the outskirts of Baghdad, April 17, 2015

The latest report from the International Organization of Migration (IOM) Iraq Displacement Tracking Matrix shows at least 3.1 million Iraqis have been displaced between January 2014 and 30 July 2015 due to sectarian violence and ISIS attacks.

Since April 2015, more than 250.000 people have been displaced from Ramadi where ISIS militants have been in control after they killed 500 civilians and Iraqi soldiers on 17 May.

The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) has defined 3,112,914 people as being displaced by clashes in Iraq. Nearly 87 percent of internally displaced people come from three governorates: Anbar (40 percent or 1,281,276), Ninewa (33 percent or 1,034,358), and Salah al-Din (14 percent or 429,744).

Displaced Sunnis fleeing Ramadi cross a bridge outside Baghdad, May 24, 2015

The governorate experiencing the highest increase in the rate of internally displaced people was Kirkuk with 17,958 in July 2015. But Rebwar Talabani, Deputy Chairman of the Kirkuk Provincial Council, said on August 23 that the number of displaced people now in Kirkuk is too much for the city to handle. “The refugees must return to their homes in Diyala, which was recently liberated from ISIS, within one month.”

According to the Displacement Tracking Matrix, 67 percent of displaced Iraqis live in rented houses, with host families and in hotels and 20 percent stay in unfinished buildings, religious buildings, informal settlements and schools.

In addition, eight percent of displaced people are living in campsites in Iraq at the moment.

The latest IOM Iraq Emergency Tracking data shows that since 8 July, more than 75,000 individuals have been uprooted from Fallujah, in the Iraqi province of Al Anbar, as Iraqi Security Forces have struggled to take control of the city from militants group.

The United Nations also announced that more than 40,000 Yazidis, a minority group in Sinjar in Iraq’s north-west, were stuck on the mountain while escaping from ISIS violence in 2014.

A displaced woman and child from the Yazidi sect rest as they make their way towards the Syrian border, August 11, 2014

Sectarian violence has continued between Sunni and Shia groups in Iraq. After ISIS made early gains, regional forces have started offensive operations to take back ISIS-held areas, but the militants still control a large region.

Christoph Wilcke from Human Rights Watch claimed that "Capitalising on forced displacement caused by war is not an acceptable way to settle old scores." He also added a number of armed groups are taking control of Sunni Arab land after pushing ISIS out.

Three years ago, Tariq al-Hashimi, a former President of Iraq, noted increasing sectarianism in Iraq and told CNN International that in the future Iraq could return to wide ranging sectarian violence that might necessitate the return of US troops.

He also said that Americans "will face the same problem as they faced in 2003," when the US and its coalition of allies came to Iraq.

"The future of Iraq is grim."

An International Organization for Migration report also says that at least 14,947 civilians have been killed and 29,189 injured during armed clashes in the country since the beginning of 2014.

The Iraqi people have faced widespread violence since 2003 when the US-led coalition invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein. Nearly 2 million Iraqis left the country and another 1.7 million were internally uprooted in the invasion of Iraq, according to the United Nations in 2007.

TRTWorld and agencies