Mosul Crisis: Population Movement Analysis Report Published - IOM

Emergency site established by IOM at Qayara Airstrip in Mosul. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Sitio de emergencia establecido por la OIM en la pista de Qayara en Mosul. Foto: OIM 

Emergency site established by IOM at Qayara Airstrip in Mosul. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Erbil – The IOM Iraq Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) has published its latest in-depth report: Mosul Crisis: Population Movement Analysis, tabulating the chronological population movements – especially displacement and returns – that have occurred in northern Iraq since the beginning of the Mosul military operations to 29 June.

The report, published this week, contextualizes an overview of the displacement history preceding the military operations and then the dislocation and return movements of Iraqis during the Mosul crisis.

Based on the DTM cumulatively, 1,084,134 individuals (180,689 families) have been displaced from both East and West Mosul as of 10 August 2017.
Of these people displaced by Mosul operations, at least 839,490 individuals (139,915 families) continue to be displaced, while some 244,644 by now have returned to their place of origin.

“Iraqis in Mosul witnessed extreme violence, lived under unbearable conditions and were forced to flee their homes, leaving their communities behind,” IOM Iraq Chief of Mission, Thomas Lothar Weiss, said this week. “While military operations have ceased, the Mosul Crisis continues to affect hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, who have not yet been able to return to their areas.”

He added: “We hope that this Mosul population movements analysis will facilitate better understanding of the scope of the crisis, and the scale of humanitarian assistance and infrastructure rehabilitation that is needed to prepare communities for return.”

The analysis in this report is based on data collection exercises conducted by IOM Iraq DTM through its Emergency Tracking methodology (ET), from October 2016 to the end of June 2017.

Three phases of displacement were identified to facilitate this analysis: an initial phase (17 October to 1 November 2016), when hostilities mainly impacted the rural areas around Mosul; East Mosul displacement (1 November 2016 and 25 February 2017); and West Mosul displacement (25 February to end of June 2017). An analysis of the return movement trends across these three phases also is provided. 

At the time the Mosul military operations started on 17 October 2016, Iraq had been in conflict for almost three years. ISIL occupied territories in Anbar Governorate at the end of 2013, rapidly expanding to Ninewa and Salah al-Din, followed by Kirkuk and Diyala Governorates. The city of Mosul and Ninewa Governorate had been under ISIL’s control since as early as June 2014.

In October 2016, the DTM had identified 3.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq at that time, of whom 1.2 million were originally from Ninewa Governorate including approximately 600,000 individuals who had been displaced between June and July 2014 when ISIL captured the city of Mosul and significant portions of Ninewa.

At the beginning of the operations in West Mosul, 223,968 individuals from East Mosul had been forced to leave their homes: of these, more than 161,718 were still in displacement by 23 February, while 62,250 had returned by the same date. Over 60 per cent of those IDPs came from the city of Mosul itself with the remainder from several rural areas around the city having not yet returned to retaken areas.

By 24 January Iraq’s Prime Minister publicly announced all neighbourhoods in East Mosul had been retaken. During the following weeks, displacement from the east side of the city continued. Security remained precarious, while many houses did not have running water, electricity or heating in the middle of the winter.

Returns to the city of Mosul were reported as of the second half of December 2016 and increased moderately until mid-January 2017, intensifying more rapidly after the Iraqi Prime Minister declared East Mosul retaken.

On 19 February 2017, the Iraqi Government announced the launch of military operations to retake West Mosul.

The first weeks concentrated around sparsely populated areas, but on 23 February when the clashes reached inhabited neighbourhoods, displacement began to be recorded

West Mosul neighbourhoods were more densely populated and their urban, crowded setting proved more challenging for military actions, whereas a significant number of East Mosul residents were able to remain in their homes despite the difficult conditions.

From January 2017, as soon as access to East Mosul was granted, the DTM initiated a close collaboration with local authorities in East Mosul and supported the establishment of a joint information collection system that gathers data on IDPs displaced within the city of Mosul. DTM staff were seconded to local authorities to conduct joint field visits and collect direct information – at the neighbourhood level – on IDPs who fled West Mosul.

While until the beginning of the West Mosul offensive most IDPs who displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas were hosted in camps, the scenario was different during the West Mosul operations that brought a noticeable shift to out-of-camp settings.

As of 29 June, DTM estimated that 797,508 IDPs were identified after 23 February when the offensive on West Mosul began.

The governorate hosting almost the total number of IDPs from the Mosul operations remains Ninewa, with 95 per cent (800,868 individuals), the majority of whom continue to be hosted in the city of Mosul itself, mostly in East Mosul city.

“In cooperation with our humanitarian partners, the Government of Iraq and donors, IOM Iraq will continue to provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance to civilians displaced from Mosul,” IOM’s Weiss said.

IOM’s DTM actively monitors displacement across Iraq. These DTM products and information about DTM methodology can be found on the DTM portal:

The Mosul Crisis population movement analysis report is available at this link:

The latest DTM Emergency Tracking figures on displacement from Mosul are available at:

For more information, please contact IOM Iraq:
Hala Jaber, Tel: +964 751 740 1654, Email:
Sandra Black, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email: