Iraq starts offensive against ISIS in western Mosul
New York [U.S.A.], Feb. 19 (ANI): Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday announced that Iraq has launched an operation to regain control of western Mosul from the Islamic State militants.
Abadi described the operation, which comes after Iraq recaptured eastern Mosul, a "new dawn" in the liberation of Mosul, reports the CNN.
The Iraqi air force dropped millions of leaflets over western Mosul late Saturday, warning residents of an offensive by ground forces on the ISIS-held part of the city. The area has been targetted only by airstrikes in the past.
Iraqi forces have had control of the eastern part of the city, which is divided by the Tigris River, since January.
The leaflets say Iraqi forces are already making advancements and are "providing guidance and recommendations" for citizens ahead of the offensive.
The leaflets also warn ISIS members to turn in their weapons and surrender "before they face their inevitable fate at the hands of our heroic forces."
The leaflets said UN humanitarian agencies will assist civilians caught in the fighting. As many as 800,000 civilians live in western Mosul, according to the United Nations. (ANI)