The United Nations' refugee agency is shipping tents, blankets and other aid from the United Arab Emirates to northern Iraq to help those affected by the military campaign to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group.

The UNHCR shipment, leaving Dubai's International Humanitarian City on Thursday, is expected to reach those affected as soon as Friday.

Soliman Mohamed Daud, a senior UNHCR supply officer, told The Associated Press that 7,000 units of the relief aid will be sent to northern Iraq. The UAE shipment leaving Thursday includes some 1,500 kits.

Iraqi and Kurdish forces, backed by U.S. advisers and airstrikes, began the operation to retake Iraq's second-largest city earlier this month.

Aid groups fear that a mass exodus from Mosul could overwhelm camps set up around its outskirts.