Displaced Iraqis in western Mosul, Iraq. (File photo)
Displaced Iraqis in western Mosul, Iraq. (File photo)

Civilians in Iraq are struggling to survive as the fighting between Iraqi forces and Daesh has intensified in Mosul's Old City.

The civilian death toll has increased in the more densely-populated west of Mosul as the terrorists have used homes for cover, drawing air strikes that have killed civilians.

At least 307 civilians have been killed and 273 wounded in western Mosul since February 17, as Daesh herds people into booby-trapped buildings as human shields and fires on those who flee, the UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein said on Tuesday.

More than 280 thousand civilians from Mosul have fled their homes.

"This is an enemy that ruthlessly exploits civilians to serve its own ends, and clearly has not even the faintest qualm about deliberately placing them in danger," Zeid said in a statement.

It is vital that the Iraqi security forces and their coalition partners avoid this trap.

He also called for transparent investigations into deadly incidents like the one on March 17, when around 200 were killed in Mosul.

Investigators are in the Iraqi city to determine whether a US-led coalition strike or Daesh-rigged explosives caused a huge blast that destroyed buildings, a US military commander said.

But Amnesty International says the US-led coalition appears to be failing to prevent civilian deaths.

TRT World's Nafisa Latic reports on the condition of civilians in Mosul.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies