Iraqi forces are battling to recapture Fallujah - the first Iraqi city to fall to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group two years ago.

Iraqi army special forces entered the besieged city on Monday, after a week of fighting in villages on the outskirts.

Civilians are desperately trying to avoid the battlefields, to escape to camps for the displaced set up outside the city.

An estimated 50,000 citizens are trapped.

They say ISIL fighters are blocking their escape routes and landmines litter the roads.


OPINION: A new formula in the battle for Fallujah


A group called the Popular Mobilisation Forces is helping Iraqi troops to fight for Fallujah.

The PMF was first formed in 2014 to strengthen the national army.

The fighters are mostly Shia Muslims who are reported to be backed by the Iranian government.

The PMF is one of the most effective forces fighting ISIL in Iraq - but is also accused of attacking Sunni civilians after recapturing territory from ISIL.

Who should hold PMF fighters accountable? And do they worsen the sectarian divide?

Presenter: Martine Dennis

Guests:

Saad al-Muttalibi - adviser to the Iraqi Ministers' Council

Kirk Sowell - publisher of Inside Iraqi Politics and a risk consultant

Ahmed Rushdi - political analyst and director of the House of Iraqi Expertise Foundation 

Source: Al Jazeera