Iraqi forces in Mosul have been accused of taking tents and water from the very people they pledged to liberate.

The Iraqi Army is currently engaged in a US-backed offensive to retake the northern city from Islamic State (Isis) and have so far been successful in retaking several surrounding villages from the terror group.

However, local police officers stationed in the Tinah refugee camp, in Qayyarah – roughly 50 miles from Mosul – have claimed soldiers travelling to take part in the offensive took UN-supplied tents and water.

"They were coming from Baghdad, they said they were the rapid response unit," one officer, who did not wish to be named to protect his identity, told the Telegraph.

"They said they needed them as they didn't have enough at their base.

"I begged them not to take them as the refugees here have nothing, but they ignored me and I couldn't stop them."

Around 175 of 200 tents and eight water tanks serving 300 families were loaded onto the back of trucks and driven away, the officer claimed.

"Some of the families were thrown out of their tents while they were still in them," one refugee said to the newspaper.

"Children were left without homes, again. They have had to move in with others and it is very cramped."

The Tinah camp is one of many expected to cope with the exodus of people anticipated to leave Mosul in the offensive. The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said somewhere between 700,000 and two million people are expected to flee from the fighting and are preparing themselves for a "displacement catastrophe".

Aid agencies said the commandeering of tents and water would be a violation of international humanitarian law, as well as a breach of their duty of care to civilians fleeing war zones, if the claims were true.

Peter Hawkins, Unicef representative in Iraq, said to the Telegraph: "In a time when so many children and families in Iraq are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, it is absolutely vital that aid reaches children and families in need and not get diverted.

"Unicef is taking the issue up with the Iraqi authorities."