Iraqi troops south of Mosul face IS attack

"Key informants are telling us that poor families are struggling to put sufficient food on their tables", UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, Lise Grande said.

As the Iraqi Army, Kurdish fighters, and Shiite militias, backed by airstrikes by the USA -led coalition, move in on the city of Mosul to retake it from ISIS, many civilians have fled from the city, seeking shelter in refugee camps and other sanctuaries.

Several hundred fighters from the army, state-sanctioned Shiite militias and paramilitary federal police massed in the village of Haj Ali on Tuesday, firing mortars at IS positions in the villages of Shayala Abali and Shayala Ayma, 90 kilometers (56 miles) from Iraq's second largest city.

The humanitarian situation in Mosul has been precarious at best, and horrific at worst, since ISIS overran the city in June 2014.

The US-led coalition has provided ongoing air support for the Iraqi offensive against ISIS in Mosul, and as the fight rages for the terror group's last stronghold in that country, the coalition has also launched airstrikes against ISIS in Syria.

The presence inside the city of an estimated 1 million residents has slowed down the campaign's progress, with the Iraqis and their allies in a USA -led coalition avoiding the use of overwhelming power to protect civilians.

Mr Al Abar said some 1.5 million people were still inside Mosul.

The Iraqi army - backed by USA -led coalition warplanes and local allies - has for the past 45 days fought to retake Mosul, which was once Iraq's second most populous city. The forces told civilians to stay at home to avoid massive displacement from the city, which likely had a population of more than a million before the operation started.

In a November 25 incident, 27 civilians were reportedly shot dead in Mosul's northern Muhandiseen Park, possibly for "leaking information" to the Iraqi Security Forces, the United Nations added.

Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore said that there were reports that Islamic State shot dead 27 civilians in public in Mosul's Muhandiseen Park last week.

"We are also deeply anxious about the fate of hundreds of people who are reportedly being abducted by ISIL and moved to unknown locations", it said.

"There are efforts to bring water tankers to neighborhoods that have been retaken", Basseem said.

Authorities were sending some 70 tank water trucks a day to areas controlled by the army but this would not be enough to supply residents, he said, adding that Islamic State had attacked some of the trucks. "Some people had stocks of dried goods but food is starting to run out, and we have neither water, nor electricity, nor fuel for heating", said 54-year-old Natiq, who was receiving food aid at a distribution centre in the eastern neighborhood of Khadraa. "It's very salty and we have to boil it before we drink it", said Ms Umm Ahraf, 45, who lives in the Khadraa neighbourhood.

Iraqi forces, Kurdish peshmerga fighters and Popular Mobilisation Forces backed by an global coalition are participating in the operation, which is facing serious resistance from Daesh.



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