200.000 refugees returned to Mosul: cabinet official

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Mosul (IraqiNews.com) The number of Iraqi refugees who returned to the city of Mosul as security operations cleared it from Islamic State militants has reached 200.000, a cabinet official has said.

Mahdi al-Allaq, secretary general of the Iraqi cabinet, said in a statement Thursday that those were out of one million people displaced since military offensives launched in October against IS.

He explained that those repatriated were mostly from the eastern side of the city. Iraqi government forces recaptured eastern Mosul late January and declared victory over IS in the western side last Monday.

“There are rapid measures taken to restore stability to the liberated areas,” Allaq stated. “Some areas of the Old City are not so badly damaged that they can be quickly rehabilitated,” said the official, referring to the medieval western Mosul district from where IS declared its establishment in 2014.

More than four million people have been displaced since January 2014, when IS started to engage in a war against Iraqi troops and gain ground in a third of Iraq.

Refugees have regularly complained of food and medicine shortages both at refugee camps and areas that were still witnessing battles between Iraqi troops and IS. Many have also decried devastation of infrastructure and poor basic services after repatriation.