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Iraqi soldiers make big advances against ISIL militants in Mosul


Iraq

Iraqi soldiers make big advances against ISIL militants in Mosul

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Heavy fighting has intensified in ISIL-controlled districts of Mosul in Iraq, as soldiers make big advances to retake control of the city.

The Iraqi army says it has now recaptured nearly all of the city’s eastern districts.

Over the weekend soldiers drove ISIL out of the city’s main university, which had been used by the militants as its headquarters since 2014.

Tens of thousands of residents have been displaced by the fighting; the exact number of civilian casualties is hard to ascertain.

One resident in an eastern suburb told reporters: “After being liberated, ISIL targeted us. Any civilians living in areas outside their rule is considered an apostate.

“So their snipers would target civilians as they walked down the streets, resulting in deaths. There are no cemeteries, we can’t go to the cemeteries, so we had to bury people in a schoolyard.”

Residents are attempting to pick up the pieces of their lives in areas where ISIL has been driven out, repairing roads, pipes and power lines.

The city awaits the expected assault on the western part of Mosul, where the militants are expected to put up stiff resistance.

Officials in the east, meanwhile, are gathering up the possessions of ISIL fighters, including a chair that is said to have been used for torture by the militants.

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