Over 600 families from Tel Afar, a town west of Mosul, have been living in the camp for two years and are hoping for their town to be liberated from Islamic State militants so they can return to their homes.
The army and security forces are part of a wider force, which also includes Kurdish peshmerga fighters and Shi'ite militias, which are seeking to encircle Mosul and crush Islamic State fighters in the largest city of their self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
The operation could bring the fighting perilously close to the ancient city of Hatra, located northeast of the town of the same name, a UNESCO world heritage site that has already been vandalised by ISIL.
Iraqi Kurds and Sunni Arab politicians have opposed their involvement, as has Turkey, which has a military presence east of Mosul despite repeated demands by Baghdad for the forces to be withdrawn.
Adding to the challenges facing the advancing forces, retreating Islamic State fighters have forced women and children from outlying villages to march alongside them as human shields as they withdraw into the city, according to villagers who spoke to Reuters by telephone from Mosul.
In a series of statements on Sunday, the Hashed's media office announced it had retaken at least four villages southwest of Mosul.
Since launching their advance towards Tal Afar on Saturday, the Popular Mobilisation forces have taken over several villages.
Jaafar al-Husseini, a spokesman for the Hezbollah Brigades, said his group and the other militias had advanced 4 miles (7 kilometres) toward Tal Afar since the start of the operation and used anti-tank missiles to destroy three suicide auto bombs that were heading toward them.
The operation will target an area close to Turkey and where a sizeable ethnic Turkmen population live, likely causing alarm in Ankara.
Chiefs' Jamaal Charles ruled out for game in Indianapolis
Stopping Travis Kelce will be key but likely a pipe dream considering how awful the Colts linebackers have been in coverage. When Smith is on his game - and more often than not he's been on lately - he runs the offense with surgical precision.
"Tal Afar is the final destination... it is the pyramid's peak", he asserted.
Numerous militias were formed after the 2003 USA -led invasion to battle American forces and Sunni insurgents.
Tal Afar had a Shia majority before IS overran it in 2014. More than 10,000 fighters are participating, they said. Government forces have anxious that such groups, which do not fall under US or Iraqi control, could turn an anti-terrorist offensive into a humanitarian crisis if the Shiite militiamen begin targeting Sunni civilians for violence in villages they overtake.
Lt. Col. Hussein Nazim of the militarized Federal Police, which is leading the advance from the south, said some civilians, mainly the elderly and infirm, might still be in the city, but that the use of heavy artillery and airstrikes was a standard tactic.
Erdogan told reporters that the Shia militia group could prompt a Turkish response if it "terrorises" the Iraqi-Turkmen town of Tel Afar, where it is headed in its push around Mosul.
"This is the most important and risky line because it connects Mosul to Raqqa and is the only supply line for Daesh", Reuters cited him as saying.
Some civilians fleeing Mosul have used the roads to the west to escape to Qamishli, in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria.
The UN cited reports indicating IS has forcibly taken civilians into Mosul, killing those who resist or who were previously members of Iraqi security forces.