Drone captures devastation in Iraq’s Mosul.

02-05-2017
HT


An exclusive drone video obtained by CNN shows the scale of devastation in Mosul as the Iraqi army with support from a US-led international coalition is trying to recapture the largest city in northern Iraq that fell to Islamic State in June 2014.

IS lost most of the city since the offensive began in October and is now surrounded in the northwestern districts, including the historic Old City centre.

In the video aired on Monday, a father can be seen with his daughter with their home half standing and the neighbouring buildings razed to the ground. Bodies of IS fighters amid debris and deserted streets with the black flag of the hardline Sunni fighters’ group is captured in the area.

Dark smoke from burning tires and debris rises in the sky as IS fighters hide from air strikes. The camera also catches an explosion thought to be a mortar hitting a building and a makeshift roadblock from where IS fought can be seen amid damaged buildings in a neighbourhood.

According to the United Nations, up to half a million people remain in the area, 400,000 of whom are in the Old City with little food, water and medicine.

The militants have dug in among the civilians, often launching deadly counter-attacks to repel forces closing in on the Old City’s Grand al-Nuri Mosque, from where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate over parts of Iraq and Syria.

International aid agencies say thousands of people have been killed so far in the battle, both civilians and military. The total number of people displaced from Mosul since October is close to 400,000, about a fifth of the population before its capture by Islamic State.

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