UNITED NATIONS, -- The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in coordination with its partner, Muslim Aid, has been stepping up assistance to displaced Iraqis and residents in the newly retaken towns and villages east of Mosul in north Iraq, China's Xinhua news agency reported quoting United Nations (UN) spokesman.

"The agency has begun distributing thousands of blankets and quilts as temperatures plummet in northern Iraqm" Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here, Friday.

More than 76,000 people have now been displaced since the start of the military offensive to retake Mosul.

Currently, UNHCR has six camps ready to receive people displaced from Mosul and surrounding towns and villages, he added.

On Oct 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces, announced the start of a major offensive to retake Mosul, the country's second largest city, in a bid to liberate the northern Iraqi city, the last major Daesh stronghold in Iraq.

Mosul, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under Daesh control since June 2014, when Iraqi government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling Daesh militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.-

Source: Nam News Network