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Iraq: Iraqi attack: ICRC takes immediate action

04-09-1996 News Release 96/35

On 31 August the Iraqi army and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) launched an offensive on Arbil. The Kurdish city, which was in the hands of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), fell the same day. Hundreds of civilians hurriedly left their homes to seek temporary refuge in safer locations.

Hospital sources put the number of wounded at 150. On 1 September the ICRC started to give the city's main hospital assistance in the form of medical and surgical supplies.

Also on that day ICRC delegates began visits to more than 70 detainees in the hands of the KDP, including 22 captured during the latest fighting. Approaches are still being made to the various Kurdish factions in order to gain access to all captives. 

To ensure prompt assistance should the situation deteriorate, the ICRC has stockpiled medical supplies in both Arbil and Sulaymaniyah. In addition, a convoy from Amman carrying several tonnes of emergency medical supplies is due to arrive soon in Baghdad.

Despite the departure of a number of humanitarian organizations from Sulaymaniyah and Arbil, the ICRC is maintaining its team of 12 delegates in the three main cities of Kurdistan, in addition to its delegation in Baghdad.