Iraqi forces open corridors in Mosul for civilians to escape

Iraqi forces on Saturday opened exit corridors for hundreds of civilians to escape Mosulís Old City as the battle against the Islamic State (IS) continues.

Iraqi authorities remain hopeful of liberating the remaining regions under IS control before the end of this month.

The soldiers have isolated the group in four pockets as IS militants continue to fight back to defend their last major stronghold in the country.

Nearly 100 civilians arrived at the safety of a government-held area west of the Old City, some with wounded and starving children, where Iraqi troops gave them food and water.

ďMy baby only had bread and water for the past eight days,Ē one mother told the troops.

Aid organizations predict over 100,000 people are still trapped in the war-torn, densely-populated Old City.

Half of those stuck are believed to be children, with little food, water or medical care.

Iraqi authorities also warned the insurgents were using civilians as human shields as hundreds of people fleeing had been killed in the past three weeks.

Since the Mosul operation began in October 2017, the Iraqi forces backed by US-led coalition air strikes have regained large swaths of territory from IS.

The Iraqi Army revealed the remaining extremists left in the city are less than 300, once nearly 6,000 when the offensive was initially launched last year.

Victory in Mosul would signal the end of ISí control in Iraq, while US-backed Kurdish forces continue to defeat the militants in neighboring Syriaís Raqqa Province.