As the military campaign to oust the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from northern Iraq intensifies, the United Nations is deeply concerned by the plight of civilians in conflict areas including the tragic deaths of 18 displaced people from Hawiga in Kirkuk Governorate reportedly killed on Friday when roadside bombs destroyed the truck they were being transported in by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).
"We are deeply disturbed by reports of civilian deaths and injuries from crossfire and improvised mines, forced recruitment of children and the use of families as human shields in areas under control of ISIL," said Ms. Lise Grande, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.
"Major efforts are being made by the Iraqi security forces to protect civilians. All the parties to the conflict — all of them — are obliged under international humanitarian law to do everything possible to protect civilians and ensure they have access to the assistance they deserve and need," added Ms. Grande.
Nearly 34,000 people have been displaced following the launch of a military offensive to retake the city of Mosul three weeks ago. An additional 39,000 people have been displaced from Hawiga district since early August. The majority of displaced families are being sheltered in emergency sites and with host communities.
Humanitarian agencies are providing life-saving assistance to displaced families and to people in newly retaken areas. New emergency sites are being constructed and emergency supplies continue to be pre-positioned. In accordance with humanitarian principles, assistance is being distributed on the basis of assessed needs and vulnerabilities.