Civilians flee western Mosul as Iraqi troops continue to advance

US-backed Iraqi forces push deeper into more populated areas of the Iraqi city after retaking the airport from Daesh. More displacements are expected.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

A member of Iraq's Rapid Response Division tries to shield himself during an explosion in the assault to retake the city's western half from Daesh. February 25, 2017.

Updated Feb 27, 2017

US-backed Iraqi forces continue their offensive to retake the western districts of Mosul from Daesh.

More than two thousand Iraqi civilians managed to cross the front lines over the weekend to escape the battle in western Mosul – the largest exodus of people in the area since Iraqi troops began the operation against Daesh a week ago. 

TRT World's correspondent Nicole Johnston reports dozens of adults and children have been wounded by improvised explosive devices over the weekend.

Displaced citizens

The Iraqi ministry of migration said on Sunday they received at least 2,380 people displaced from western Mosul in the past 24 hours. They had crossed from the al-Mamun district after Iraqi forces captured it from Daesh and were relocated to camps in Qayyarah, south of Mosul.

The ministry said 3,888 have left the western districts of the city since the start of the operation last week.

More internal displacement is expected as the battle to oust Daesh continues.

Federal police and an interior ministry unit known as Rapid Response have completely recaptured Hawi al-Josaq, east of the city's airport and have started clearing houses in the Tayyaran district to its north, said a military source.

The advancing forces are now less than three kilometres (two miles) from the mosque in Mosul's old city, where Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a so-called caliphate in 2014 spanning Iraq and Syria, sparking an international military campaign to defeat the group.

Losing Mosul would likely deal a crushing blow to the militants' dream of statehood, but they still control swathes of territory in Syria and patches of northern and western Iraq from where they could fight a guerrilla-style insurgency in Iraq.

TRT World's Nicole Johnston brings us the latest from Erbil.


TRTWorld and agencies