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Northern Iraq: Aid distribution continue as cease-fire holds

22-10-1997 News Release 97/42

With the resumption of fighting on 13 October between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), over four hundred Kurdish families fled their homes in northern Iraq. The ICRC has stepped up its aid to these internally displaced persons, whose plight is aggravated by harsh weather conditions as winter sets in. The scale of the clashes between the rival Iraqi Kurdish factions also prompted the ICRC to increase its assistance to seven medical facilities in the area. Mobile dispensaries along the front line received first-aid material, while hospitals treating more serious casualties were supplied with surgical equipment and medicines.

The deadline set by the KDP for the withdrawal of the PUK forces has now passed, but the precarious cease-fire is still holding. This enables the ICRC to continue its distributions of humanitarian assistance and its visits to over 320 prisoners captured since 13 October.