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Fear, hunger and destruction as IS retreats

Friday, March 17, 2017 - 01:32

After five months of intense fighting, Iraqi forces have begun to drive back Islamic State into the dense alleys of Mosul's Old City, but civilians face a desperate struggle to survive. Axel Threlfall reports.

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The brutal end game in the battle for Mosul. Iraqi forces pushing Islamic State back into their final refuge - the alleyways of the Old City. Their ultimate goal lies beyond: The very mosque where the group's leader infamously declared a caliphate in 2014 For now their black flag still flies above. Over half a million civilians are caught in the crossfire. Trapped by the retreating forces and the aerial assaults of their assailants. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MOSUL RESIDENT, MUNIR MOHAMED, SAYING: "You can't even walk for 10 minutes without mortar fire. Mortars are like rain, they are like rain. Bullets are like rain." Many still risk it - such is their desperation to escape. Children are among the wounded Shrapnel injuries, and amputations - their innocence no barrier to war. If they are the lucky ones, there are many who aren't. On these carts are the bodies of children Their loss too painful for the families to leave them behind. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) WADI HAJJAR, MOSUL RESIDENT, SAYING: "This happened because of airstrikes. These were in their homes and the airstrikes killed them." Those who remain in the city face a desperate struggle to survive. No food has been brought in for months. The only water is in wells. Now the hope is that victory is in sight. For the people of Mosul, it can't come soon enough.

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Fear, hunger and destruction as IS retreats

Friday, March 17, 2017 - 01:32