Civilians demand food from troops in newly cleared Mosul areas
MOSUL, (AP): HUNDREDS OF Iraqi civilians spilled into the streets yesterday in eastern Mosul areas recently retaken from the Islamic State (IS) group to demand food from the military as rations run low in their neighbourhoods, an Iraqi officer said.
Gunfire rang out in residential districts of Mosul amid heavy fighting, a testament to the long road ahead as Iraqi forces and their allies battle to wrest control of Iraq’s second-largest city from IS militants.
About 700 residents gathered in three areas of the city’s Zahra and Qadisiya neighbourhoods, the latter of which was the scene of a fierce IS counterattack a day earlier, said Maj Salam al-Obeidi. The Iraqi troops were sharing what rations they have with the civilians.
“This is a problem for us because the food we have is not enough for them and we’re waiting for more food to be sent from the government,” al-Obeidi said. “Now, the Iraqi soldier is giving his food to the civilians.”
Iraq launched a major offensive last month to drive IS out of the northern city, which is still home to more than a million civilians.
Special forces have captured a foothold in Mosul’s east, and have been advancing slowly over the past week to avoid casualties and civilian deaths as IS fighters emerge to attack from the dense, urban landscape, often with suicide car bombs.