SOLLIMS Sampler Volume 8, Issue 1 - Page 19

F. TOPIC. Civilian Dislocation Related to Iraqi Security Force Operations in Mosul, Oct 2016 – Feb 2017 (2568) Observation. Cooperation between military forces and humanitarian organizations can mitigate dislocation and reduce the probability of humanitarian emergencies occurring during offensive operations. Discussion. This lesson summarizes the civilian dislocation aspect of the Iraqi Security Forces’ (ISF) ongoing Mosul operations. The lesson is limited to information currently available from open source reporting. A large volume of Mosul-related documents are available online (with hundreds of international organization (IO) and non-governmental organization (NGO) reports posted on ReliefWeb alone). Only a fraction of these available resources were reviewed in writing this lesson. On 17 Oct 2016 the Iraqi government announced that operations to liberate Mosul from Islamic State (ISIS) occupation had begun. 1 The population of Mosul prior to the 2014 ISIS takeover was 2.5 million. 2 The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated the population as of October 2016 at between 1.2 and 1.5 million, 3,4 whereas STRATFOR (a geopolitical analysis firm) gave an estimate of 750,000. 5 When the Mosul campaign began, OCHA described the worst case scenario as 1 million dislocated civilians (DCs), which would require the “largest and most complex” humanitarian operation undertaken anywhere in 2016. 6 The rate of DC flow was also a concern. One NGO employee recalled: “When fighting broke out in Mosul in 2014, we had 100,000 people show up in one night at checkpoints.” 7 The government of Iraq’s intent to retake Mosul in late 2016 was public knowledge months in advance. 8 This enabled OCHA and partners to begin planning for humanitarian effects of offensive operations in Feb 2016. 6,9 As a result, when operations began, DC camps were already in place with a combined capacity of 60,000 people, with planning or construction in progress for additional camps with a capacity of 250,000. 6 Public knowledge of the impending offensive also presumably contributed to over 100,000 civilians leaving Mosul in the period between March 2016 and the start of operations. 10 The ISF concept of operations regarding DC movement routes, means of transportation, security, and screening is difficult to discern from open source information. One DC reported that Kurdish Peshmerga escorted his family to a DC camp north of Mosul. 11 The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that the government of Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacement Table of Contents | Quick Look | Contact PKSOI Page 18 of 28