Hundreds Join Mosul Exodus As Iraqi Forces Retake Two Western Districts

Hundreds Join Mosul Exodus As Iraqi Forces Retake Two Western Districts

 Pushing carts loaded with bags, babies and the elderly, hundreds of people fled Mosul on Saturday (April 22) after Iraqi forces retook two more districts in the west of the city from ISIS.

Families arrived from Hay al-Tanak district which they said was still half controlled by the militants.

"There were artillery and mortars shelling and air strikes all the night yesterday and we waited impatiently for the sun to rise to flee. We lost everything," one woman said sitting in cart with children, which was being pulled by two men.

Iraqi forces have taken much of Mosul from the militants who overran the city in June 2014. The military now controls the eastern districts and are making advances in the west.

The U.S.-trained Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) has retaken the nearby al-Thaura and al-Saha districts, a statement said. CTS commander Major General Maan Saadi said his troops were linking up with Iraq's Federal Police moving in on the Old City from a different position.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians are still trapped in western Mosul, where Iraqi forces are making slow progress against Islamic State in what is a labyrinth of narrow streets.

The battle to free Mosul is now in its seventh month and has taken a heavy toll on several hundred thousand civilians trapped in neighborhoods of the city that are still under the control of the militants.

The operation to regain full control of Mosul from ISIS began on October 17 last year.

Iraqi forces liberated the eastern side of Mosul in February and are currently battling to regain the western side from the militant group.