Thousands of Iraqis surged out of western Mosul on Saturday (March 18) during a lull in heavy fighting in districts around the densely populated Old City where Baghdad militias are facing fierce resistance from ISIS terrorists.
As fighting has entered into the narrow alleyways and densely populated parts of the west, more residents are fleeing liberated areas where food and water are scarce, security fragile and where homes are often caught in shelling.
Families with elderly relatives and children marched through western Mosul’s muddy streets, past buildings pock-marked by bullet and bombs. Some said they had hardly eaten in weeks, scrambling for supplies handed out by a local aid agency.
As many as 600,000 civilians may be caught inside the city with the terrorists.
Around 255,000 people have been displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since October, including more than 100,000 since the latest military campaign in western Mosul began on Feb. 19, according to United Nations figures.