But now, the 35-year-old finds himself in a camp packed with the city's residents, or Muslawis, and -- short of food, water and electricity during Iraq's scorching summer -- struggling to do his religious duty to fast during daylight.

"Most people here cannot fast -- there is no cold water or suhoor," the father-of-five said of the pre-dawn meal that observant Muslims eat during the holy month of Ramadan.

The stress clearly showing on his face, Shiet, who made his living in Mosul as a construction worker, said: "We don't know what to do."

Some 1.2 million people have fled their homes as a result of unrest in Iraq this year, including hundreds of thousands displaced in the past month by a jihadist-led advance that overran large chunks of five provinces north and west of Baghdad.

Most had little time to leave, and set off for Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, which buttresses many of the areas that fell into insurgent hands, but were unable to cross into Kurdistan's three provinces because of regional rules which prohibit Arabs and Turkmen from entering the region without a local sponsor.

As a result, many have had to settle in camps set up on Kurdistan's border, in some cases just a short distance from a massive checkpoint guarding the main entry to the Kurdish regional capital Arbil.

Shiet and his family have been at Al-Khazar camp for upwards of a week, and have suffered from the lack of cold water and ice during Iraq's scorching summer.

Difficult though that was before Ramadan, it has been made all the worse because after enduring an entire day in the heat, they are left with only hot water to drink after sunset, leaving their thirst unquenched.

- Searing summer sun -

A lack of electricity means tents bake in searing summer temperatures, and whereas they received two meals before Ramadan -- lunch and dinner -- the displaced now receive only the evening meal of iftar to break their fast.

"How can we fast?" Shiet, who spends his day listening to quotes from the Koran on his phone, asked rhetorically.

Iraq's Kurdish region has provided some aid and set up camps for some of those displaced by the latest unrest. Aid organisations and foreign countries have made their own contributions to fill the gap.

But the sheer number of displaced over such a short period has been overwhelming.

"Organisations provide aid, but the situation for the (Kurdish) regional government is difficult, and the provincial councils do not have enough money to support the displaced people," said Dindar Zebari, deputy head of the Kurdish foreign relations department.

Zebari said Kurdish authorities in Arbil had asked the Iraqi government to ensure that at least civil servants living in camps could collect their salaries elsewhere, and also to transfer their allocations within a national "ration card" programme that provides basic food products to each Iraqi family.

He added that while the central government in Baghdad was providing a cash handout to each displaced family of 300,000 Iraqi dinars ($250), this required families to register, which many had not yet done.

Some residents of the camp, however, are soldiering on and trying to complete the daily Ramadan fast.

A short distance from Shiet was Mohammed Hamed Jumaa, a restaurant worker from Mosul who sat with his wife and six children, a wet towel wrapped around his head.

"One day is like an entire year," the 41-year-old complained, "because we cannot sleep from 6:00 am until 6:00 pm because of the heat.

"The camp is very hot, and we do not have an air cooler to refrigerate the tent. The atmosphere is dusty, and fasting is hard."

"But despite that, we fast."

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