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

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The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks Syria's war, says airstrikes by the USA -led coalition since June 6 have killed 117 civilians and wounded hundreds.

Iraqi forces began storming the Islamic State-held Old City of Mosul on Sunday, an assault they hope will be the last in the eight-month campaign to seize the militants' stronghold.

It is reported that there are 100,000 civilians remain trapped in the city.

The US-backed Iraqi offensive to capture Mosul entered its ninth month on Saturday.

Nora Love, the aid group's acting country director, said: "With its narrow and winding streets, Iraqi forces will be even more reliant on air strikes despite the difficulty in identifying civilians sheltering in buildings and the increased risk of civilians being used as human shields by IS fighters".

- January 24: The Joint Operations Command coordinating the fight says the east has been "fully liberated".

Following that, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior said in another statement that the battle in the Old City of Mosul would be the final push to defeat the ISIS elements in the northern city.

Along with supporting Iraqi government forces, the United States backs Syrian and Kurdish rebels fighting Assad's government in Damascus.

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"The army, counter-terrorism forces and federal police launched an attack on the Old City", Staff Lieutenant General Abdulamir Yarallah said in a statement.

USA -backed Iraqi troops pushed into the last Islamic State stronghold in Mosul on Sunday, an Iraqi commander said, formally launching the final major battle of an eight-month campaign to drive the militants from Iraq's second largest city.

There have been more than 7,000 gunshot wounds of people trying to leave districts still controlled by the Islamic State group, also known as ISIL, she said.

"More than 100,000 civilians may still be held in the Old City", Geddo told reporters in Geneva.

In recent days, the USA -led coalition has also come in for criticism from some human rights organizations for its use of white phosphorous in the city.

- November 13: Iraq says it has recaptured Nimrud, an ancient city southeast of Mosul. Its capital there, Raqqa, is being besieged.

IS also controls territory along the border with Syria and urban pockets west and south of Mosul.

About 200,000 people were estimated to be trapped behind IS lines in Mosul in May, but the number has declined as government forces have thrust further into the city.

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