Iraqi troops surround militants in Mosul's Old City

Iraq's elite Counter Terrorism Services advance towards the Yabasat neighbourhood in West Mosul on March 23
Iraq's elite Counter Terrorism Services advance towards the Yabasat neighbourhood in West Mosul on March 23
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13 May, 2017

Iraqi paramilitary units of Hashd Shaabi units launched an operation on Friday to free areas near the Iraqi-Syrian border from Islamic State (IS) militants, the Iraqi military said.

Men and children flee heavy fighting between Islamic State militants and Iraqi special forces in Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, May 10, 2017.

A senior officer of the interior ministry's elite Rapid Response forces said they had found several families stuck in booby-trapped homes since the launch last week of an operation in northwestern Mosul.

More than 22,000 people have fled Mosul since the US -backed Iraqi forces opened a new front in the northwest of the city on May 4, the United Nations said on May 10, citing Iraqi government figures.

The operation came as the Iraqi security forces, backed by anti-IS global coalition, are carrying out a major offensive to dislodge IS militants from their major stronghold in the western side of Mosul in northern Iraq. Dorrian said over the past week Iraqi forces retook more than 30 square kilometers (12 square miles) of terrain from IS.

According to the Iraqi official figures, about 600,000 people have fled the fighting in Mosul since last October when the Mosul offensive, backed by the US-led Global Coalition, began.

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A Mosul woman was given a cigarette by an Iraqi soldier, another was handed a cane.

They managed to take full control of the eastern half of Mosul in January and started an assault on the west the following month.

Meanwhile, witnesses in western Mosul say the Takfiri extremists are booby-trapping homes with civilians inside and welding doors shut on starving families to prevent the population from fleeing.

IS fighters captured Mosul in 2014 as they gained wide swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria in battles against government troops. Today a fraction of western Mosul is the last significant urban terrain IS holds in Iraq.

Abdulkarim Al Obeidi, a civil activist from Mosul, said an estimated 250,000 people were still trapped in the old city and the handful of other areas that remain under Daesh control.

Rudaw's Ranja Jamal, embedded with the Iraqi forces, reported ongoing clashes in the Islah al-Zaraye and Iqtsadiyeen districts northwest of the right bank of the Tigris River that bisects the city.


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