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    Thousands flee as fighting intensifies in Mosul
    January 6, 2017, 11:34 am

    An Iraqi boy is being treated by Iraqi forces after being hit by retreating ISIL forces who have lost 70 per cent of eastern Mosul [Xinhua]

    An Iraqi boy is being treated by Iraqi forces after being hit by retreating ISIL forces who have lost 70 per cent of eastern Mosul [Xinhua]


    Over 13,000 people have fled Mosul over the past five days as the operation to liberate the Iraqi city from ISIL militants continues, UN Secretary General Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Thursday.

    And the figures are likely to rise as the Iraqi army and anti-terrorism forces inch their way to liberating more of the city every day. Iraqi commanders said they were making progress in Mosul’s southeastern neighborhoods of al-Salam, Palestine, al-Shaimaa, Domiez and Sumer.

    On December 29, the combined Iraqi forces launched a new phase in their bid to recapture all of eastern Mosul, on the left bank of the River Tigris.

    A total of 132,000 people have been displaced since the start of the operation in October, Dujarric said in a statement at the regular UN press briefing.

    “The average daily displacement numbers have increased by nearly 50 percent since military operations intensified, some 1,600 to more than 2,300 displaced per day,” said Dujarric.

    The US Department of Defense said earlier on Tuesday that Iraqi military forces, backed by the US and its allies, had retaken two-thirds of eastern Mosul, Russia’s Sputnik news-agency reported.

    An Iraqi commander put the figure closer to 70 per cent.

    The situation in the city, however, remains dire with shortages of food stocks and soaring prices.

    And liberated areas are coming under heavy mortar shelling from areas controlled by ISIL forces.

    On Thursday, the Al Mawsleya network broadcast dramatic footage of an Iraqi police unit rescuing a civilian family held hostage by ISIL fighters in their own home in a district of eastern Mosil believed to have already been liberated by security forces.

    Some US commanders have warned that the operation to liberate all of Mosul could last for as much as three more months.

    Nearly 1.5 million civilians live in the northern city, Iraq’s second largest.

    The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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