Backed Iraqi forces launch fresh push toward Mosul old city center

The IOM, the United Nations migration agency, says more than 200,000 people have been displaced by the fighting since October a year ago, with a new exodus beginning on 25 February.

Hunger and bombings forced us to flee our homes.

"All the families were hiding behind a wall", she said, explaining how they escaped an ISIL-held part of the city.

But with all major roads out of the city now cut off, the situation grows increasingly dire, with many residents - mostly women and children - risk being caught in the literal crossfire, as they venture out of the city and towards the Iraqi frontline.

Iraqi security forces on Sunday launched a new push toward Mosul old city center, on the western bank of Tigris River, amid heavy clashes with Islamic State (IS) militants, the Iraqi military said.

Iraqi special forces soldiers secure a street during a battle with Daesh in Mosul, Iraq.

"In total 7,000 people fled through this area last night", he said.

"We effectively control the road, it is in our sight", he said.

Jassem Mohammed al-Jaff announced that field teams received "26,000 displaced people from (west) Mosul during the past 10 days", a statement from the ministry said.

The operation for west Mosul has made significant progress, but has been somewhat hampered by bad weather conditions. "However we're also tracking down reports thousands more people are on the move". He said construction is under way to accommodate up to 250,000 people there.

Al-Sumaria pointed out that the text copies of the speech was distributed to other Islamic State spokesmen to convey to militants scattered around western Mosul.

Iraqi military forces have uncovered an extensive underground terror training base outside of Mosul.

Eastern Mosul was recaptured in January after several months of fighting.

Maj. Gen. Haider al-Maturi of the Federal Police Commandos Division told The Associated Press that IS militants dispatched at least six suicide vehicle bombs, which were all destroyed before reaching the troops. Mosul is the capital of Nineveh province.

Among casualties in the past 48 hours, five children and two women were treated for exposure to chemical agents, suffering blisters, eye redness, vomiting and coughing, said the International Committee of the Red Cross.

  • Leroy Wright