Caught in the crossfire – an update  on the situation in Mosul

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In recent weeks, the political and humanitarian situation in Northern Iraq has worsened. In January, Iraqi government forces recaptured the eastern half of the city but the western half remains under the control of Islamic State. Civilians are being caught in the crossfire.

Since last month, 45,000 people are reported to have fled the city, many without shoes on their feet. They are now homeless, without food or water. Wet and cold weather has added to their misery. There have also been reports of chemical weapons, with the International Committee of the Red Cross treating 12 people, including women and children, for suspected exposure to blistering agents.

The fighting has moved to the congested streets of the old city, making it very difficult to defeat what remains of Islamic State in Iraq. Despite recent reports that the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has fled, field commanders and die hard followers continue to put up fierce resistance.