In Iraq, security forces continue to make advances into the center of western Mosul as they battle fighters from the ISIL for control of the city. But progress was hampered by bad weather – as thousands of civilians continue to flee the fighting.
CGTN’s Tony Cheng reports.
Bad weather slows Iraqi forces as they battle for western MosulIn Iraq, security forces continue to make advances into the center of western Mosul as they battle fighters from the ISIL for control of the city. But progress was hampered by bad weather – as thousands of civilians continue to flee the fighting. CGTN’s Tony Cheng reports.
A lone Iraqi soldier prays at the roundabout that is the gateway to Mosul’s West. This was where the Islamic state punished those who disobeyed its rules; lashings, beheadings and worse. Now it is the exit point as many try to flee. We are headed into western Mosul and there are just streams and streams of refugees flooding out of the city.
People have come from the city center and area that was liberated yesterday, and they are desperate to get out. They say they’re tired and hungry, and they just want to get somewhere safe.
“We were in danger. I am a very old woman and thank God we have got here safely. I can’t work, I can’t even stand up. We don’t have anything,” said an elderly lady fleeing the fighting.
The old and the sick, even those who appeared to be just weeks old were ignoring the Iraqi forces pleas to remain in their home. The fighting they said was just too fierce. But it has been slow progress in recent days for the special forces charged with attacking the western flank.
Bad weather and rain has slowed their advance to a crawl. Heavy artillery is still pounding the city. A rocket targets an ISIL bomb making facility. But as their commander told me, heavy weapons like this can only be used sparingly.
Inside the city Federal police continue to push forwards. But the mortars and machine guns make no distinction between the Islamic State fighters and the local populace who say they’re being used as human shields.
And left behind them is a wasteland of scorched earth. Food and water remains in very short supply. Many of these people said they hadn’t eaten for several days…another reason to abandon their homes and flee.