A member of Iraqi rapid response forces helps displaced Iraqi civilians, who fled the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, in the Mithaq district of eastern Mosul, Iraq, January 3, 2017. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
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Some cross the Tigris River by boat, after the U.S.-led coalition bombed the five bridges connecting the city's two halves to restrict Daesh movements.Most of the 116,000 civilians who have fled Mosul since Iraqi forces launched their campaign to recapture Daesh's biggest stronghold came from the eastern half of the city, where government troops have gradually gained ground.But as the biggest battle in Iraq since 2003 enters its 12th week, a growing number of people are escaping from the besieged west bank of the Tigris, a half of the city still fully under the militants' control.That has worked in Daesh's favor, slowing the progress of Iraqi forces seeking to avoid civilian casualties.Iraqi forces renewed their push to retake the city last week, making progress in several eastern districts.
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