Iraqi forces push toward Mosul’s Old City, civilians flee

George Tzokas
By George Tzokas
June 13, 2017World News
Iraqi forces push toward Mosul’s Old City, civilians flee
Iraqi forces deploy in western Mosul's 17 Tammuz neighbourhood as they continue their military offensive to retake the northern city from jihadists of the Islamic State group on May 19, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

Iraqi forces have pushed ISIS almost completely out of Mosul. The fighting is approaching the al-Nuri mosque in the Old City.

The capture of this mosque would strike a strong symbolic blow against ISIS. It was from this mosque that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in 2014.

ISIS is clinging tightly to this tiny western corner of the city. The narrow streets make it difficult for the Iraqis to advance.

The violence and danger make it impossible for residents to stay. The few people who have not fled already are being forced out.

Iraq will take back the city but the cost is already high, and rising.

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