On Wednesday, as poor weather bogged down forces advancing on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul, an aid agency warned that civilians there are in great danger as the battle for the city intensifies.
“We are now bracing ourselves for the worst,” said the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Wolfgang Gressmann. “The lives of 1.2 million civilians are in grave danger, and the future of all of Iraq is now in the balance.”
The group said thousands of civilians have already fled the city, and many have already been killed by snipers and explosives. Those still in the city are in need of food, water and medical supplies, and those shortages will intensify as the fighting makes it more difficult for supplies and other humanitarian aid to get through.
Iraqi special forces reached the outskirts of the city Tuesday, two weeks after the offensive to retake Iraq’s second largest city began, and more than two years after Mosul was captured by the Islamic State group.
An Iraqi general said troops captured a television station Tuesday before a sandstorm blew in and ended combat operations for the day.
On Wednesday, troops were holding their positions on the city’s eastern border as high humidity and clouds limited visibility for drones and other aircraft.
Iraqi Brig. General Haider Fadhil says no advances are planned for Wednesday due to the weather, the Associated Press reported.