More civilians fled their homes in west Mosul on Sunday (March 12) as fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants intensified.
The few thousand militants still fighting in southern Mosul are outnumbered by a 100,000-strong array of Iraqi forces.
However their ruthless tactics have allowed them to hold out much longer than the government’s initial predictions.
Civilians fled from Bab Jadid and Wadi Hajar districts to safe areas controlled by the Iraqi forces.
Snipers shoot at women, children
One civilian, Saad Mohamed, said families were escaping IS sniper fire while fleeing.
“They do not care about women, children or anything. The people were running in zig zags to avoid the sniper fire,” said Mohamed.
Mosul is by far the largest city which Islamic State has held in its cross-border, self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria. It has been losing ground in both countries, with three separate forces, backed by the United States, Turkey and Russia, advancing on its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.
Civilians remain caught in the gruelling urban combat in Mosul amidst threat of booby traps and IED’s left behind by IS.
One resident of Wadi Hajar district said that that a store giving out food aid exploded killing and injuring many civilians, including “young children”.
With many residents choosing to remain at home despite the fighting, aid agencies have struggled to reach them.
About 40,000 people have fled the fighting and hardship in the past 10 days, bringing the total number of people displaced from Mosul since campaign started to more than 215,000, according to United Nations estimates.