TEHRAN, Mar. 05 (Press Shia) – Over 45,000 people have fled western Mosul in Iraq in past few days as the coalition-backed government campaign to retake the Iraqi city gains momentum, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Sunday.

Iraqi forces backed by the US-led coalition began the operation to liberate East Mosul from the ISIL on February 17. The western part of the city was freed from the militants in January after a four-month battle.

“Number of people displaced [from] West Mosul are increasingly rapidly. In the last 9 days alone 7,619 families (45,714 individuals) displaced,” Hala Jaber, an IOM consultant in Iraq, was quoted by the watchdog as saying on social media networks.

The IOM displacement monitoring service, DTM, released its estimates on Sunday, saying a total of 206,520 people had been displaced in Mosul since October 17 of last year. The operation to liberate Mosul from ISIL terrorists began on October 17, 2016.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced the assault on the more densely-populated western districts on February 13. The UN estimates western Mosul is home to some 750,000 people. It warned there could be enormous humanitarian implications for trapped civilians.

SPUTNIK/Press Shia