Iraq holding IS suspects in 'horrendous conditions' near Mosul

Islamic State fighters have booby-trapped houses, and government forces will also be fighting amongst civilians, ruling out the extensive use of air and artillery support.

In the latest figures released Wednesday, the International Organization for Migration said almost 100,000 Iraqis have fled western Mosul amid Iraqi battles against Daesh.

The rights group said that the makeshift prisons were under the authority of the interior ministry intelligence service, which is interrogating people handed over by security forces fighting ISIS.

The coup marks a significant strategic victory as the bridge connects the eastern part of Mosul, which has been entirely freed of terrorists' presence, to the city's Daesh-held Old City.

In the meeting attended by Salim Jabouri, the head of parliament, Vice President Osama Nujaifi and other Sunni politicians, leaders agreed an historic opportunity existed to heal the rifts among Iraq's warring sects and restore shattered confidence by mainstream Sunni toward the state, Khanjar said.

The forces launched a major push last month to oust the IS militants from west Mosul, taking back a series of neighbourhoods as well as sites including the city's airport, the Mosul museum and the provincial government headquarters.

If Iraqi forces recapture Iron Bridge, they will control three of the five bridges spanning the Tigris River between eastern and western Mosul.

The spokesman said that if the reported allegations of strikes targeting civilians are credible, "that would need to be investigated, looked into, and... if changes need to be made in terms of targeting, then that's something that Department of Defense would look at". The Iraqi forces number about 100,000 men, including the army, special forces, Kurdish Peshmerga and Shia jihadists in both the federal police and the state-sanctioned Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), accused of committing war crimes since 2014.

Displaced Iraqi people who fled from homes during a battle between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants, receive bread at the Hammam al-Alil camp, south of Mosul on Monday.

More than 200,000 Mosul residents have been displaced since the start of the campaign in October.

Eastern Mosul recently fell to the anti-ISIS U.S. -backed offensive of almost 100,000 Iraqi government forces, Kurdish Peshmerga forces, and Iran-backed Shiite militias, among other fighters. Food had been scarce, they said. "There has been a lot of shelling by Daesh", said Hamid Hadi, a teacher.

"Whenever we advance there are more people coming out", said one Iraqi officer directing refugee transport.

Ashraf Ali, a nurse who escaped with his wife and two children, said mortar rounds were falling as they fled.

  • Elsie Buchanan