UN Secretary General starts official visit to Iraq

The United Nations Secretary-General has arrived in Iraq amid a growing humanitarian crisis due to months-long fighting against the Islamic State group in Mosul.

The U.N. Assistance Mission to Iraq says Antonio Guterres landed in Baghdad on Thursday to focus on the dire humanitarian situation on the ground. Amid reports of dozens civilians killed by airstrikes in Mosul, the statement said that "protection of civilians must be the absolute priority."

UNAMI spokesman Samir Ghattas says Gutterres will meet Iraq's president, prime minster and Parliament speaker before heading north to visit displaced persons camps.

Since the start of Mosul military operation in October, more than 350,000 people have fled the fighting, according to U.N. figures.