Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have fled west Mosul in the US-backed offensive to retake the city from ISIL.
Mosul, Iraq – After eight months of a US-backed offensive to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS), Iraqi troops have finally captured the ruined Grand al-Nuri mosque and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has declared the group’s caliphate at an end.
But Iraqi forces do not yet have full control of the city. ISIL fighters are surrounded in a 300-by-500 metre section of the Old City beside the Tigris river.
Civilians fleeing Iraqi advances are increasingly desperate. The elderly and weak are carried across mounds of rubble in blankets. Soldiers, increasingly fearful of the Old City’s inhabitants after a string of suicide bombings, hurry the groups along.
Largely cut off from food and water for months, humanitarian groups are reporting a spike in the number of displaced people suffering from malnutrition and dehydration.