Iraqi troops push into area around symbolic Mosul mosque

Claudine Rigal
Марта 31, 2017

Humanitarian agencies have been working around the clock to provide life-saving support to more than 1.3 million people from eastern and western Mosul including families who have stayed in their homes, and those who have fled.

United Nations humanitarian co-ordinator Lise Grande said the humanitarian operation in western Mosul had so far been far larger and more complex than in the east.

IS militants seized large portions of northern Iraq and Syria in an offensive in 2014.

Iraqi government forces launched a major offensive to recapture Mosul, the last major IS urban stronghold in the country, in October. Mosul residents say that the Shiite militias are not entering the city proper, so far.

WATCH: The remaining western Mosul neighbourhoods held by the Islamic State group are now completely surrounded and IS has lost more than 60 percent of the territory the militants once held in Iraq, a senior coalition official has said.

Civilians who have escaped the fighting are being bussed from camp to camp as the authorities try to find them shelter.

Al Arabiya spoke with sources inside Mosul, who stressed that the leaders of ISIS fled with their families from the right coast toward the desert.

For Father Daniel, the only way they can fight back against ISIS is to let the children complete their education.

Multiple witnesses said that the bodies of those killed, including bodies of members of Iraqi security forces, were thrown into a naturally occurring sinkhole at a site known as Khafsa, about 8 kilometers southwest of Mosul.

"They want to help their community and for their voice to be heard around the world", the vicar said.

Ali, who hails from a town just outside Mosul, remembers spending time on the corniche as a teenager.

Father Daniel says Christians in the region have long anxious for their future with his church struggling to cope with the influx of fleeing families. "We used to follow the girls, but they never gave us any attention".

The current mission, launched a year ago, saw the government withdraw Canadian fighter jets from the US -led bombing campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, but triple the number of special forces soldiers in northern Iraq.

A federal policeman carries his weapon as he stands near buildings destroyed in clashes during a battle against ISIS militants, in Mosul.

The issue is sensitive as Islamic State have a record of torturing, mutilating and killing military and civilian captives, and such an incident could be a blow to troops' morale.

Ms Grande said: "The use of explosives in the densely populated Old City is likely to cause extensive damage".

In January, Iraqi forces retook the eastern sector of the city before setting their sights on the west. "Families are going to be at extreme risk".

On Sunday, a US-led coalition air strike on a Daesh command centre in western Mosul killed six foreign militant commanders, including a Russian, Abdul Kareem Al Rusi, who headed the Tareq Bin Ziyad Brigade. "So far the exact toll has been impossible to confirm", she said. "We are proud of our diversity", he said this month at a forum sponsored by the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani.

"The concrete fell on us and we went out running to the main road".

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