Battle For Mosul: What You Need To Know

More than a million residents in Mosul, the biblical area of Nineveh, are caught in the middle as an estimated 5,000 militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) face over 94,000 advancing Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers. The retaking of Iraq’s second largest city has begun.

ISIS has controlled Mosul since entering Iraq in June 2014, making this city their last major stronghold in the country.

2016R4R-product-imageJust 53 miles away in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, is the largest proportion of displaced people in the country. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Red Cross, and Samaritan’s Purse have been preparing for the expected influx of needy men, women and children expected to flee for safety while the Battle For Mosul wages on.

Up to 700,000 people could require emergency shelter during the fight, which would make this event one of the largest humanitarian crises in recent years.

This is in addition to the 4 million Iraqis who have been displaced and the more than 24,000 killed since ISIS first invaded the country.

As events unfold in the coming weeks and months, we will be updating this page with news about the Battle For Mosul, along with ways that you can directly help those in need.

What We Know Now

October 28, 2016

  • ISIS executed 232 people in Hammam al-Alil (just south of Mosul) and took tens of thousands of others to use as human shields against advancing Iraqi forces, the United Nations says.

October 27, 2016

  • More than 10,000 Iraqis have fled their homes since the start of the offensive to retake Mosul.

October 26, 2016

ISIS is sending “suicide squads” from Syria to its Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, witnesses have reported to CNN.

October 23, 2016

  • ISIS executed about 40 people celebrating the “liberation” of their villages by Iraqi forces, a Mosul official said.

October 22, 2016

  • Chief Petty Officer Jason Finan, a 34-year-old U.S. Navy sailor, died Thursday from a blast from an improvised explosive device while deployed in Iraq, the military announced.
  • Hundreds of people in Iraq are being treated for the effects of toxic gases after a sulphur plant was set alight in fighting with ISIS.
  • The assault on Kirkuk is over, the city now back in Iraqi control. At least 80 people were killed and another 170 were wounded in the operation, said Brig. Gen. Khattab Omer of the Kirkuk police.

October 21, 2016

  • More than 50 ISIS militants took part in an assault on Kirkuk, which appeared to be aimed at diverting attention from Mosul, around 100 miles away.

October 20, 2016

  • A UK-based moniter reports dozens of Yazidi women enslaved by ISIS have been transferred out of Mosul to Raqqa, Syria.
  • Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that the operation to retake Mosul is going faster than expected as Peshmerga fighters opened a new front from the north, liberating several villages from ISIS control about 12 miles from Mosul.

October 19, 2016

  • Within the last 10 days, about 5,000 refugees, mostly women and children, have arrived at the al-Hol camp in eastern Syria from Mosul and its surrounding areas.
  • Qaraqosh, Iraq’s largest Christian town before the war, is said to be largely empty but IS has laid landmines on the approaches to Mosul.

October 18, 2016

  • Iraqi forces report that they have secured 20 villages on the outskirts of Mosul from ISIS control.
  • As troops approach Mosul, it’s clear that ISIS is using hidden tunnels, suicide bombers, and booby traps to slow the advance of Iraqi and Kurdish troops.
  • Among the small villages being retaken by Iraq’s army, the Christian town of Qaraqosh is now liberated.

October 17, 2016

  • Iraqi-led forces (54,000 Iraqi soldiers and 40,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters) began the operation to retake the city of Mosul.

October 16, 2016

  • Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announces that the battle to retake Mosul is imminent, stating, “We started fighting ISIS in the outskirts of Baghdad, and thank God we are now fighting them in the outskirts of Mosul, and God willing the decisive battle will be soon.”


This may be the greatest man-made humanitarian crisis in recent years, and there currently isn’t enough room for the expected number of people fleeing Mosul. We are partnering with Samaritan’s Purse, who have been taking in refugees in Erbil since the start of the crisis, to help house and sustain more displaced people in the coming months.

As has been our commitment for over 82 years, Haven Ministries does not take a handling fee. 100% of your donation for Refugee Relief will be immediately sent to help Samaritan’s Purse supply food, clothing, and shelter for those who have nowhere else to turn.



  • Lea says:

    Preemptive Love Coalition is also helping in an area no others were. Please consider adding them to your list! Ann Voskamp has done fund raisers for them.

    • Corum Hughes says:

      Thanks for your suggestion! We’ll keep this in mind as we begin raising funds for refugees in Iraq in the coming weeks and months.

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