The Iraqi government had pledged to retake Mosul from ISIL by the end of this year, but things are slower than expected as the US-backed forces strive to avoid casualties among civilians.
Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on Tuesday it would take another three months to dislodge the jihadist group from Iraq.
“The Americans were very pessimistic, talking about very long timescales, but victories achieved by our brave fighters over ISIL have helped reduce this period in Syria and Iraq to two years. I believe that in Iraq it might take three months,” he said.
Iraqi forces say they have seized nearly a quarter of eastern Mosul, and hundreds of residents were taken to camps after they fled the area.
More than 100,000 people have been displaced since the offensive started in October, according to the International Organisation for Migration. Many of them live in camps in northern Iraq.
“We escaped death,” said Abu Mustafa, who fled the Intisar neighbourhood of Mosul. “We left everything, our homes and belongings. Life under Daesh was bad, they treated us poorly, no-one had any money. We are taking our children to the camps so we can live.”
But many do not have access to proper medical care and are only serviced by a small mobile medical clinic. At the Sewdinan camp, people queue each morning to seek care but medical equipment is said to be scarce.
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