Warning of “humanitarian catastrophe” as Mosul fighting intensifies

Fierce fighting took place on Friday in the old part of Western Mosul as Iraqi forces continue to battle ISIL fighters.

Thick smoke could be seen billowing from buildings in the Old City, as two more districts were said to have been recaptured by government troops.

Back in January Baghdad declared that ISIL was no longer in control of eastern Mosul and the fight would move to the more densely populated western side of the city.

As many as half a million civilians are estimated to be trapped in neighbourhoods where fighting is taking place and the UN is warning the situation is dire.

There is concern that if a siege develops, civilians will be cut off from water and food supplies, triggering a humanitarian catastrophe.

Residents who have managed to escape from the Old City say there is almost nothing to eat but flour mixed with water and boiled wheat grain. 

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