NPR Story
1:25 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

United Nations: Half A Million Iraqis Have Fled

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 2:56 pm

The United Nations human rights office says half a million Iraqis have fled their homes since Monday, after Islamic militants took over the towns of Mosul and Tikrit in Iraq.

U.N. spokesman Rupert Colville says hundreds of civilians may have been killed, and nearly 1000 wounded. Iraqi Army soldiers have also been targeted.

Many of the displaced Iraqis have been saying they feared retribution by Iraqi troops. Colville said there was evidence of that too.

At the same time, there are reports of some Iraqis who fled Mosul, deciding to come back after being told everything was fine, even though the city is now controlled by sunni militants.

Residents of Mosul have long complained of mistreatment by the Shite-dominated government in Baghdad.

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Transcript

JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:

If you're just joining us, President Obama spoke to reporters this afternoon saying the U.S. would not be sending troops to Iraq as the security situation deteriorates there, but he is weighing airstrikes which he says will occur only if the Iraqi government first takes steps to find political solutions to the crisis. Meanwhile, the United Nations human rights office says half a million Iraqis have fled their homes since Monday after Islamic militants took over cities of Mosul and Tikrit in Iraq. UN spokesman Rupert Colville says hundreds of civilians may have been killed and nearly a thousand wounded, and Iraqi Army soldiers have also been targeted.

RUPERT COLVILLE: We've received reports of the summary execution of Iraqi Army soldiers during the capture of Mosul, and of 17 civilians in one particular street in Mosul city on the 11th of June.

HOBSON: Many of the displaced Iraqis have been saying they fear retribution by Iraqi troops. Colville said there was evidence of that, too.

COLVILLE: We've also had reports of - suggesting the government forces have also committed excesses. In particular, the shelling of civilian areas during the fighting on the 6th and 8th of June.

HOBSON: At the same time there are reports of some Iraqis who fled Mosul deciding to come back after being told everything was fine even though the city is now being controlled by Sunni militants. Residents of Mosul have long complained of mistreatment by the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad, so not a lot of details yet, in part because there aren't a whole lot of journalists there at this point. This is HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.