(IraqiNews.com) Nineveh – Hundreds of families started to flee Kokajli, east of Mosul, towards the borders with Iraqi Kurdistan fearing artillery shelling by Islamic State fighters, Al Sumaria News reported on Thursday.
Al Sumaria quoted the migrating citizens as saying they would return to their homes once Iraqi forces advance to the city and relieve the danger from their area.
Iraqi government forces, assisted by al-Hashd al-Shaabi troops and US-led coalition forces, continue to advance towards Mosul, Islamic State’s last bastion in Iraq. The operations have dealt ISIS fighters severe losses, according to campaign commanders, with the group reportedly carrying its wounded militants and families outside the city while facing food shortages.
ISIS supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi urged his fighters in a voice message on Wednesday to remain resilient in face of the assaulting forces.
The United Nations and the United States had predicted more than one million civilians to be internally displaced due to the war in Mosul.
Commanders of operation “We Are Coming, Nineveh”, had said that 76 families had returned to their homes in Nineveh.