Europe

UN: Civilians increasing flee IS-held Mosul; 135,500 now out

  • Elite counterterrorism forces transport civilians fleeing their homes during fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

    Elite counterterrorism forces transport civilians fleeing their homes during fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Civilians leave their neighborhoods during fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

    Civilians leave their neighborhoods during fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Civilians leave their neighborhoods during fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

    Civilians leave their neighborhoods during fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

The U.N.'s humanitarian aid agency says an average of 1,000 people have fled the Iraqi city of Mosul each day over the last week amid a stepped-up Iraqi offensive to retake the city from the Islamic State group.

Spokesman Jens Laerke of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told reporters Tuesday in Geneva that some 135,500 people have fled Mosul since the operation began in mid-October. Some 4,000 people fled on Jan. 2 alone, one of the largest single-day outflows during the campaign.

OCHA says it and its partners have no access to civilians in areas of western Mosul controlled by IS, and in a note pointed to "increasing humanitarian concerns for the wellbeing of civilians in these areas." It did not elaborate.