11 June 2014
Thousands of residents have fled the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and taken shelter in Duhok and Irbil provinces after the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) reportedly seized Iraq's second-largest city.
The residents gathered at a security checkpoint between Irbil and Duhok which is controlled by Kurdish Peshmerga troops, who distributed food and water to them.
At least 120 Turkish employees working at the construction of a water treatment station left the city after the station officials abondoned the site following the city's seizure by ISIL.
Turkish worker Cumhur Ozen told Anadolu Agency that they arrived at the Hazer security checkpoint after a 25 km night walk from Mosul to Irbil and were then sent to Turkey on a bus.
Along with Mosul residents, the clashes between the Iraqi forces and ISIL militants also displaced the Syrian refugees taking shelter in Mosul.
Meanwhile, Irbýl Governorate and the officials from the United Nations are establishing a camp for the families who came from Mosul.
Rizgar Moustafa, the district governor of Khabat in northern Iraq, told AA that the fighting in Mosul had intensified, forcing thousands to come to Irbil.
He added that they did not let entry into city center as there were too many people seeking shelter.
In the meantime, a government official from Iraq’s Kurdish regional government claimed that the armed force of the central Iraqi government "handed down" Mosul without showing any resistence against ISIL militants.
"Two commanders of Iraq's land and air forces along with some high military officials who came to Mosul to steer the operations against the militant group abandoned their helicopters and came to Irbil via land route," said the Kurdish government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
He further claimed that Mosul Governor Asil al-Nujaifi was not in his office as stated by his brother and Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, but came to Irbil on Tuesday evening to depart for Baghdad along with other commanders in the city by air.
Mosul has been home to violent clashes between the Iraqi security forces and ISIL militants since Friday, which left scores of people dead.
Outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said earlier Tuesday that Iraq had been placed on "maximum alert" after ISIL militants seized control of Mosul, the country's second-largest city.
Iraq's parliament will also hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss ongoing "security chaos" in the northern city of Mosul and across the country.
- Global outcry
The U.S. expressed concerns over the events that occured in Mosul over the last 48 hours.
"Senior U.S. officials in both Washington and Baghdad are tracking events closely in coordination with the Government of Iraq, as well as Iraqi leaders from across the political spectrum including the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and support a strong, coordinated response to push back against this aggression," a statement from State Department said Tuesday.
The statement also said the U.S. would provide all appropriate assistance to Baghdad under the Strategic Framework Agreement to fight ISIL.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also condemned the terrorist attacks in Iraq and expressed his concerns over the recent developments in Mosul.
British Foreign Office Minister in charge of the Middle East, Hugh Robertson, said that he condemned the attacks in Iraq's Mosul carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.
He stressed that the U.K. was monitoring developments closely and added, "We fully support the Iraqi government in its fight against terrorism, and call for the safety of all civilians to be ensured."