Mosul food, water reserves dwindle as fighting cuts off supplies

The United Nations issued a fresh warning on November 30 about the humanitarian situation in eastern Mosul where the US-backed Iraqi army is locked in heavy fighting with Islamic State militants.

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More than six weeks into the offensive against Islamic State's last major city stronghold in Iraq, the army is trying to dislodge militants dug in among civilians in the eastern districts, the only side Iraqi troops have been able to breach.

"The situation in eastern Mosul city close to the front lines remains fraught with danger for civilians. Mortar and gunfire continue to claim lives," the U.N. humanitarian coordinator's office said. "The limited supplies of food and water are running out, amid concerning reports of food insecurity emerging from the city."

Water was cut to 650,000 people - or 40 percent of total residents in the city - when a pipeline was hit during fighting, a local official said on November 29.

With winter setting in, aid workers say a full siege is developing around the city and poor families are struggling to feed themselves as prices rise sharply.

The longer the conflict drags on, the more civilians will suffer as they are also exposed to violence from the militants bent on crushing any opposition to their rule.

Deputy U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore said on November 30 there were reports that Islamic State - which has killed residents it suspects of collaborating with the army - shot dead 27 civilians in public in Mosul's Muhandiseen Park last week.

Three weeks ago at least 20 people were killed and their bodies displayed, as if crucified, at road junctions in the city for passing information to "the enemy".

Reuters

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