Iraqi armed forces are pressing ahead with operations to dislodge ISIL Takfiri terrorists from the northwestern areas of the country.
Fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units launched an all-out operation to liberate al-Qairawan district in Nineveh Province. They also managed to regain control of a village near the city of Tal Afar.
An Iraqi army commander has expressed hope that government troops will have fully recaptured Mosul within the next two weeks.
Meanwhile, witnesses in western Mosul say the Takfiri extremists are booby-trapping homes with civilians inside and welding doors shut on starving families to prevent the population from fleeing.
The Interior Ministry’s elite Rapid Response forces say they have found several families stuck in booby-trapped homes since the operation in northwestern Mosul started last week.
Many of the civilians, who are not locked in by ISIL, have been hiding in basements with whatever food supplies they still have. Reports say many have been eating plants and boiled papers.
An estimated 250,000 people are still trapped in Mosul and some other areas that remain under ISIL control.
Local sources put the number of ISIL terrorists in western Mosul at around 600, meaning that the Takfiri terrorists are resorting to human shields as a last resort in their defense strategy.
The United Nations says more than 400,000 people have been displaced amid an operation by Iraq’s military and volunteer fighters to drive the ISIL terrorists out of western Mosul.
Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for the UN chief, said on Tuesday that almost 435,000 civilians had experienced forced displacement in the face of the military campaign, noting that some 31,000 people have also returned to their homes in liberated areas.
Dujarric added that there have been some cases of acute malnutrition among infants arriving with their families from western Mosul.