Yesterday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced the start of military operations to clear Mosul of ISIS and those efforts are now well underway. But what happens to the one million or more residents trapped in the city who risk death if they stay - and if they attempt to flee?
As UN Under-Secretary-General Stephen O'Brien said, "Families are at extreme risk of being caught in cross-fire or targeted by snipers. Tens of thousands of Iraqi girls, boys, women and men may be under siege or held as human shields. Thousands may be forcibly expelled or trapped between the fighting lines. Children, women, the elderly and disabled will be particularly vulnerable."
Please read and share our analysis, which offers an explanation of how this situation came to be and the warnings that government policymakers and aid agencies cannot ignore.
As they face the most difficult challenge of their lives, we will continue to keep the citizens of Mosul - and all Iraqis - in our thoughts.