WORLD

Slow Push For Mosul Leaves Thousands Displaced

Nearly 55,000 people have been displaced as fighting enters its fifth week.

15/11/2016 11:27 AM AEDT | Updated 15/11/2016 8:40 PM AEDT
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Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters
An Iranian-Kurdish female fighter takes position during a battle against Islamic State militants in Bashiqa near Mosul on November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
A soldier being reunited with his mum after two years apart has driven home the personal mission of Iraqi fighters battling to retake Mosul from Islamic State.

Footage released by the BBC on Tuesday shows an Iraqi soldier being reunited with his mum near Mosul, where an alliance of Iraqi forces backed by US airstrikes have battled for almost a month to reclaim Islamic State's last bastion in Iraq.

The terror group captured the city -- which is home to nearly 1.5 million people -- in 2014.

In the video a young Iraqi soldier named Saad -- who has not been to Mosul, or seen his family, in two years -- finds his mum on a bus filled with civilians fleeing the city.

"Don't cry my son. You shouldn't cry," says his mum as she hugs him through the emotional reunion.

"My darling I'd die for you."

Azad Lashkari / Reuters
Syrian Kurdish fighters ride a military vehicle in the town of Bashiqa, after it was recaptured from the Islamic State, east of Mosul, Iraq, November 12, 2016.

Zohra Bensemra / Reuters
A Peshmerga soldier checks the bag compartment of people who are fleeing the fighting between Islamic State and the Iraqi army in Mosul, inside a bus at their checkpoint in Iraq November 14, 2016

More than 9000 families have been displaced from the Iraqi city of Mosul as the campaign to reclaim it from ISIS enters its fifth week.

More than 54,000 people had been internally displaced amid military operations to retake Mosul in Iraq, an increase of 6,600 people since November 11, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

A 100,000 strong alliance of Iraqi forces have surrounded the city, which is a critical last major post for ISIS in Iraq and is now the site of the biggest military operation in the country since the 2003 U.S. lead invasion in 2003.

Goran Tomasevic / Reuters
A man carries his child as he crosses from an Islamic State-controlled part of Mosul into an Iraqi-controlled part of Mosul on November 14, 2016.

Getty Images
Iraqis on their way to Khazir refugee camp after fleeing from clashes in Mosul.

The UN said about three quarters of the displaced families are sheltered in camps and one quarter in host communities, while available spaces in formal camps are still keeping pace with displacements.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is providing food assistance to more than 100,000 people fleeing the conflict in Mosul, including a distribution on Sunday to 25,000 people in Gogjali, the first neighbourhood retaken inside Mosul City.

Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters
An Iraqi child holds a white flag as he flees with his family from Gogjali village near Mosul during a battle with Islamic State militants on November 3.

Kurdish peshmerga and Shi'ite fighters have been making painfully slow progress towards the city from the east, south and north of the city.

Iraqi forces are yet to cross into the northern and southern limits of Mosul, while the elite Counter-Terrorism Services (CTS) force has pushed into the eastern outskirts of the city.

During last week's push, Iraqi forces discovered a mass grave containing 100 decapitated bodies.

AFP/Getty Images
A soldier from the Iraqi Special Forces carrying an anti tank missile takes up a position to prepare for a suicide bomb vehicle that was reported to be moving towards their position as they engage with IS fighters in Mosul's Karkukli neighbourhood.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Children play next to a burning oil field in Qayara, south of Mosul on Nov 3. A senior military commander said more than 5,000 civilians have been evacuated from newly-retaken eastern parts the city.