Iraqi forces say started storming Islamic State-held Mosul Old City


- November 13: Iraq says it has recaptured Nimrud, an ancient city southeast of Mosul.

"This is the final chapter", Counter Terrorism Commander Gen. Abdul Ghani al-Assadi said on Iraqi state television on Sunday.

Tens of thousands of army, police and counter-terrorism troops are thrown into the long-awaited offensive with air and ground support from a US-led coalition.

Iraqi forces will be forced to abandon their armored vehicles as they storm the Old City's narrow walkways, while struggling to distinguish friend from foe among the estimated 100,000 to 150,000 people still trapped in the area.

The International Rescue Committee, an aid group that operates in Iraq, warned that this would be "a terrifying time" for civilians trapped inside the Old City.

About 3 million have been unable to return home, according to the United Nations.

Hundreds of civilians were killed near the frontlines in the past three weeks while fleeing the Old City, as Iraqi forces couldn't fully secure exit corridors. "We have made all preparations to evacuate them from the front lines", army colonel Salam Faraj told Reuters.

After #ISIS captured the city in 2014, Iraqi forces are launching a final push to liberate Mosul from jihadist control.

The International Rescue Committee called on Iraqi forces and the USA -led coalition to "do everything in their power to keep civilians safe during these final stages of the battle for Mosul".

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The civilians trapped in the Old City, a densely-populated maze of narrow alleyways, have little food, water or medical supplies.

Al-Waleed is close to Tanf, a strategic Syrian highway border crossing with Iraq, where US forces have assisted rebels trying to recapture territory from fleeing Islamic State fighters.

The offensive to retake the northern city started in October with air and ground support from a US -led global coalition.

Adding to the risky situation are the approximately 100,000 civilians who are believed to still be inside the Old City.

The attempt to drive IS out of their last hub in Mosul comes during the ninth month of the Iraqi troops' offensive to re-capture the war-ravaged city.

The group is also retreating in Syria, mainly in the face of a USA -backed, Kurdish-led coalition.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced Friday that it is checking information that it may have killed the ISIS leader in an airstrike on May 28 near the ISIS de facto capital of Raqqa in Syria.

Late on Sunday, Iraqi forces dropped almost 500,000 leaflets over the city, warning that they "have started attacking from all directions".