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video Migrant Crisis

Iraqi refugee camp now bustling town

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 01:15

The Al Khazer camp for Iraqis fleeing the fighting in Mosul is now a bustling place full of street stalls and market vendors. Rough cut (no reporter narration)

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ROUGH CUT. NO REPORTER NARRATION. In the vast desert premises of the Khazer camp, some 20 kilometres from the eastern outskirts of Mosul city, street vendors are taking to the muddy streets, trying to reclaim a sense of normalcy away from home. Most of the residents here had fled the violence resulting from Iraqi forces' ongoing fight to recapture the country's second city from Islamic State. Uprooted from their homes, those seeking sanctuary came here with few belongings, and shortages in the camp are making everyday life even more of a struggle. So many have decided to generate an income by offering services or selling food and other items in a makeshift market. One man, who has been in the camp for two months, grabbed a couple of chairs, scissors and a razor and set up an improvised barbershop in the camp. Another man, Ahmad Karim, sells meat he procures from the outskirts of Mosul. But for those who don't have a trade or the means to make some extra money, camp life is tough. More than 2,000 Iraqis a day are fleeing Mosul, several hundred more each day than before U.S.-led coalition forces began a new phase of their battle to retake the city from Islamic State, the United Nations said on Wednesday (January 4). More than 125,000 people have been displaced out of a population of roughly 1.5 million, but the numbers have increased by nearly 50 percent to 2,300 daily from 1,600 over the last few days, the U.N. refugee agency said. Most of the fleeing civilians are from the eastern districts but people from the besieged west, still under the militants' control, are increasingly attempting to escape, scaling bridges bombed by the coalition and crossing the Tigris by boat. An Iraqi victory in Mosul would probably spell the end for Islamic State's self-styled caliphate, but in recent days the militants have displayed the tactics to which they are likely to resort if they lose the city, killing dozens with bombs in Baghdad and attacking security forces elsewhere.

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Iraqi refugee camp now bustling town

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 01:15