Smoke rises from ISIS positions after an airstrike by coalition forces in Mosul. (AP)
The story comes from Al Arabiya.
Battle to retake Mosul from ISIS ‘will be difficult’
Pace of operations slowed on Tuesday as Iraqi forces began pushing toward larger villages and encountering civilian populations during the end of the second day of a massive operation to retake the northern Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS.
Reports of explosives and booby traps slowed down allied troops as the spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting ISIS Col. John Dorrian warned the ongoing battle to restore the city “will be difficult”.
More than 25,000 troops have mobilized for the Mosul fight, a massive operation that's expected to take weeks, if not months.
To compound the operations, ISIS were reportedly barring civilians from leaving Mosul and using them as human shields.
“We know they are being used as human shields, absolutely,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis told reporters.
Up to five months leading up to the operations, sources told Al Arabiya News Channel that nearly 100,000 civilians were able to escape Mosul.
Reports suggest nearly 1.5 million people are still trapped under an ISIS siege.
“Right now, cities nearby are expected to host 60,000 refugees as temporary tents and shelters are being set up,” Norwegian Refugee Council consultant Sarah Kilani told Al Arabiya News Channel.
“For humanitarian aid there are two top priorities right now. First, to guarantee safe exit routes for civilians. Second, we have to focus on guaranteeing enough funding so adequate humanitarian aid can be given to refugees,” she added.