Thousands displaced as the battle for Mosul rages
It is the first chemical attack in the battle for the ISIS stronghold. Iraqi army officials claim that ISIS leaders are fleeing the city of Mosul and there is widespread shock, confusion and the sense of defeat among ISIS militants.
The top United States defense official also said he'd be open to any requests his commanders might have as they advise and support local forces fighting to retake the city of Mosul from Daesh and move on to its stronghold in Raqqa, Syria.
"The humanitarian impact has been significant".
Field teams received "26,000 displaced people from (west) Mosul during the past 10 days", Jassem Mohammed al-Jaff, the minister of displacement and migration, said in a statement.
Iraqi forces cut the Islamic States' access to the highway near the village of Badush, which is about 6 miles west from Mosul proper, BBC News reported. The question now is: will the Trump administration adapt the same careful approach in taking the western side of the city, or will we witness the destruction of the historic city of Mosul?
Maliki said that while his soldiers have not reached the road, they can fire on targets on it, putting it under their effective control.
Major General Jones said: "We are killing Daesh at a rate that they simply can't sustain". Those fleeing the city have faced dire conditions.
Muhammad Salah, a resident of a recently retaken neighborhood nearby said the bridge and the main road effectively mark the current front-line in the fight.
"There was firing all around our house, it was being destroyed bit by bit", she said.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, announced the start of an offensive on February 19 to drive extremist militants out of the western side of Mosul, locally known as the right bank of Tigris River, which bisects the city.
"They trapped us and they didn't want us to leave", she said of the jihadists.
"Most of our patients are combatants, but civilians are affected too".
The few families who remained in Al-Mamoun said they were too scared to leave as the militants had booby-trapped cars. "The girl was very, very critical".
According to the BBC, ISIS have always been suspected of making and using crude chemical weapons in territory it controls in Iraq and neighbouring Syria.
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