The United Nations has called on all parties involved in operations to free the Iraqi city of Tal Afar from its occupying Daesh terrorists to avoid civilian casualties.
“Thousands of people are fleeing Tal Afar for safety. Families are trekking for 10 to 20 hours in extreme heat to reach mustering points. They are arriving exhausted and dehydrated,” said the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande, in a statement released on Sunday.
The statement was released after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the commencement of a major offensive to retake the city of Tal Afar, located near Mosul. “We announce the launch of an operation to liberate Tal Afar. I say to Daesh either you surrender or die,” Abadi said.
Grande described the situation inside the city as being “very tough,” due to the lack of food, water and basic necessities.
“More than 30,000 people have already fled the district. We don’t know how many civilians are still in the areas where fighting is occurring, but we are preparing for thousands more to flee in coming days and weeks,” she added.