losangelesnewstoday.com April 22, 2018

Iraq's Shi'ite paramilitaries squeeze Islamic State towards Syria border

13 May 2017, 12:55 | Katrina Lee

Civilians in Mosul's Old City face 'stark choices' for survival - ICRC

Families flee Mosul as Iraqi troops push into last militant-held areas

An officer in the Iraqi Army said to Asharq Al-Awsat: "As security forces continue to push forward in all directions in the northwest and following the massive losses at the group's side, ISIS armed men started to flee to regions ruled by them in the Old City - in Mosul".

Iraqi government troops are moving closer to surrounding Mosul's Old City, as the USA -backed forces battle to liberate the city from Islamic State (IS) extremists, military officials say.

Islamic State is losing territory and on the retreat in both Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi forces backed by USA and coalition air support began the battle to liberate Mosul in October.

UNHCR has opened 12 camps for civilians fleeing the conflict in Mosul, and almost 500 children, women and men children have arrived at the newest camp, Hasansham U2, located around 60 km west of the city, since it opened on Tuesday, Mahecic said.

A Mosul woman was given a cigarette by an Iraqi soldier, another was handed a cane.

Unlike regular Iraqi security forces, the PMF does not receive support from the USA -led coalition, which is wary of Iran's influence over the most powerful factions within the body.Officially answerable to the government in Baghdad, the PMF were formed when Islamic State overran around one third of Iraq including Mosul almost three years ago and Iraqi security forces disintegrated.

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With ISIS' casualties mounting and escape routes to the militants' territory in neighboring Syria narrowing, the group that controlled almost half of Iraq in 2014 has put up fierce resistance in defending the collapsing lines of the less than seven percent that remains.

The UN estimates some 350,000 people remain trapped in IS-held Mosul. Today a fraction of western Mosul is the last significant urban terrain IS holds in Iraq.

They managed to take full control of the eastern half of Mosul in January and started an assault on the west the following month.

Associated press writer Maya Alleruzzo in Mosul, Iraq, contributed to this report.

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