Aid agencies are concerned that the humanitarian situation in the besieged Iraqi city of Fallujah is growing ever more desperate.
The government lost control of the area to militia from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and allies from the Sunni community over the weekend.
Iraqi government troops now surround the city and are primed for an all out assault.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki spoke directly to the people of the city: “I call upon the people of Fallujah and the tribal leaders to unite and reject the presence of these evil people, because Fallujah has witnessed fighting and destruction many times before. We do not want the city to suffer anymore. We will not use force as long as the tribes are ready to fight al-Qaeda and expel them.”
Reports suggest the situation is not simple. The Sunni tribes are split with some joining the mainly Sunni militants, while others are backing the Shi’ite led government in Baghdad.
“We have fled Fallujah because the situation is getting worse as you can see many families have left,” said one of those displaced by the violence.
The Iraqi Red Crescent says 13,000 people have left the city.
Many fear the country is on the brink of a full blown sectarian war.