Iraqi forces opened exit routes for hundreds of civilians to flee the Old City of Mosul on Saturday as they battled to retake the quarter from Islamic State militants mounting a last stand in what was the de facto capital of their self-declared caliphate.
U.S.-trained urban warfare units were channeling their onslaught along two perpendicular streets that converge in the heart of the Old City, aiming to isolate the jihadist insurgents in four pockets.
The week-old battle in the Old City is turning into the deadliest of the eight-month U.S.-backed campaign to take back the northern city, which fell to the militants in June 2014.
A Reuters correspondent saw a young girl with facial injuries walking dazed and shocked across the frontline out of heavily-populated district with a group of neighbors. All her family was killed when their house collapsed, they said.