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Thousands of Iraqis Face Uncertain Future After Fleeing ISIS Control

Fighting between Iraqi forces and ISIS militants near Mosul has displaced more than 2,000 people in the past week.

People gather at a camp for newly displaced civilians in Makhmour, Iraq, on March 29, 2016. Makhmour is in Iraq's semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region.

Iraqi forces began 'Operation Conquest' to retake Mosul from ISIS last week, and the battle has displaced over 2,000 civilians.

Cengiz Yar / AP

Young boys stand next to a fence at a camp for newly displaced civilians outside Makhmour on March 31.

Cengiz Yar / AP

Displaced civilians eat lunch in an athletic court at the camp, after fleeing ISIS's control, in Makhmour on March 29.

The U.N. estimates that there are 3.3 million internally displaced people across Iraq. The country has witnessed a surge in violence as government forces battle to contain the Islamic State group.

Cengiz Yar / AP

Children play inside a tent at the camp for newly displaced persons in Makhmur, on March 29. 

Once those fleeing war arrive in Peshmerga-controlled areas, they are first vetted. The Peshmerga troops have been keeping new arrivals in two fenced-off soccer courts on the outer edge of Makhmour while they carry out security screening, including checking mobile phones for messages.

Cengiz Yar / AP

Children pick through shoes near the camp outside Makhmour on March 31.

Cengiz Yar / AP

A young boy walks through dirt at the camp on March 31 outside Makhmour.

Cengiz Yar / AP

Yumana, 13, wipes tears from the face of her father, Sheikh Matar Kurdi al-Bijari, after being separated from him for over a year, on March 31.

Yumana was stuck with her mother, younger sister, and two younger brothers in ISIS-controlled territory after her father was forced to flee to Kirkuk city. Al-Bijari traveled to Makhmour and reunited with rest of his family.

The families may feel safe at last, but their future is uncertain. It is not clear where they will go once the local Kurdish authorities have carried out their security screenings.

Cengiz Yar / AP

Balkis, 15, embraces her fathe Sheikh Matar Kurdi al-Bijari, after being separated from him for over a year.

Cengiz Yar / AP

A car wrapped in U.N. refugee agency plastic is parked near the camp for displaced civilians on March 29.

Cengiz Yar / AP