Families plead with Islamic State to leave bloody Mosul

It is hard to appreciate how dreadful Mosul's old city has become.

Families are being torn apart here and there is nothing that can be done to stop it. They are being murdered for just trying to live.

On the edge of the old city a disused shop is an emergency room. Injured civilians targeted by Islamic State as they try to escape the fighting and the starvation are brought here.

The walking survivors trudge their way up the road to safety carrying what they can.

In the dilapidated shop doctors, foreign medics and volunteers struggle to deal with the influx of injured people.

They are ferried here on the bonnets of humvees and in the backs of trucks. They are bundled inside. On beds the medics get to work. The floor is awash with blood.

The moaning and cries of pain of the injured are only drowned out by the screams of anguish from family members outside.

The most seriously wounded are put into ambulances to take them to proper hospitals.

Here in the chaos of the room there is no time for anyone but the living. Those who didn't survive lie where they died, wrapped in rugs and body bags. All around the work to save life and limb goes on.

The survivors are terribly traumatised. The news that loved ones died in their terrifying attempt to escape is overwhelming. A young man surrounded by bodies sits outside the shop, sobbing.

"Go and see what they are doing to the people," he shouts, pointing down the road to the old city.

Everyone trying to leave IS areas is a target. Men, women and children.

A man being treated for injuries to his back says he tried to plead with Islamic State gunmen to let him and his family go. He told them they were starving.

"I pleaded with them this morning to let us leave because we have families and children. They replied: 'You want to leave and go to the unbelievers and apostates?'

"'What apostates?' I replied. I begged them to let us leave. We were dying of hunger.

"I could tell you so many stories. Brother, they were killing us. We went to the roof of my neighbour's house and all of us tried to escape together when someone yelled at us to hurry up and then they blew themselves up. Half of my family died," he said.

Families sit together outside resting before they continue their journey to reception centres and eventually enormous tented camps.

The most remarkable thing is the resilience of the children. They chomp on bananas, safe now after weeks of hiding from the fighting.

When they will return home nobody knows. In truth their homes will likely be destroyed in the battle raging to rid Mosul of Islamic State.

A group of boys walk away from the shop carrying their possessions in a rug, sharing the weight between them. That is all they have got.

Iraqi soldiers gun their humvees and head back towards the battle space looking for more injured. Smoke from the latest suicide bomb rises in the air.

How many people are left inside isn't known but it is likely to be in the tens of thousands. Even now many will be contemplating their escape knowing some of them will not make it.

This was just one day. The casualties barely stopped coming. It is like this every day in west Mosul.