A million refugees could make a Mosul victory look like defeat

The Daily Beast reports: In a shabby school building that has ceased to be a place of learning, families crowd the spaces that are shielded from the intense autumn sun. Women sit on pieces of cardboard to avoid the dirty floors of the school’s courtyard, corridors, and classrooms. Their children are clustered around them.

With little more than the clothes on their bodies, these families are recent arrivals at the Debaga displacement camp in Kurdish administered northern Iraq. They’ve walked through the dark of the night and the heat of the day to escape the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

These men, women, and children have staggered through the arid plains of Nineveh province, arriving here with fear and exhaustion etched on their faces. And every day more civilians seep through the front lines, a trickle expected to turn into a flood as Iraqi forces begin their assault on Mosul, the final ISIS stronghold in Iraq.

More than 100,000 people have fled the crumbling caliphate in the run-up to the battle, which could begin as soon as mid-October, and of those, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council, 62,000 fled Mosul and its environs. [Continue reading…]

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