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Iraqi advances made in battle for Mosul, safety of civilians remains chief concern

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By Euronews
Iraqi advances made in battle for Mosul, safety of civilians remains chief concern

<p>The second phase of the Iraqi offensive to reclaim Mosul from <span class="caps">ISIL</span> militants has begun as security forces close in on the extremist-held city from three directions.</p> <p>The battle for the jihadist’s last major stronghold in Iraq has raged since it began in October, and looked to have reached a stalemate before advances were made in the city’s eastern districts.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Iraqi forces have launched the second phase of Mosul offensive against Islamic State: <a href="https://t.co/jlBBUEWF2D">https://t.co/jlBBUEWF2D</a> <a href="https://t.co/laPSfNbmBX">pic.twitter.com/laPSfNbmBX</a></p>— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) <a href="https://twitter.com/Reuters/status/814513936057909248">December 29, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>As the largest ground operation since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq continues,civilians trapped and displaced by fighting remain the chief concern.</p> <p>One spoke of a “tragic” situation unfolding for those unable to escape the bloody fighting.</p> <p>“<span class="caps">ISIL</span> destroyed our lives,” he said. “There is no life in Mosul, no fuel, no food, there is nothing left.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Breaking<br /> Iraqi Army dig graves of Sunnis ppl ,come out dead & dragged their bodies in Street<br /> sectarian government <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Mosul?src=hash">#Mosul</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Warcrimes?src=hash">#Warcrimes</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IRAQ?src=hash">#IRAQ</a> <a href="https://t.co/0H25VEJJbb">pic.twitter.com/0H25VEJJbb</a></p>— #IRAQ شمرية العراق (@moonnor27) <a href="https://twitter.com/moonnor27/status/814436390616305664">December 29, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>Another civilian spoke of the destruction and death caused by the fierce battle.</p> <p>“Three houses in our neighbourhood were destroyed after they were hit by mortars, three people were killed,” he said.</p> <p>“One of my children was injured by mortar blasts. We left our cars and our house behind us. All we have left is the clothes on our backs.”</p> <p>Some one hundred and twenty thousand have fled Mosul since the operation began in October.</p> <p>Aid organisations have warned that Iraq is on the verge of an unparalleled humanitarian crisis, as the city’s residents wait in camps to see what will become of their home.</p>