Mosul – Tabiye.com- Iraqi government forces have launched an offensive to liberate the western part of the city of Mosul from so-called Islamic State.
Smoke rose over villages as hundreds of military vehicles, backed by air power, rolled across the desert towards the jihadists’ positions on Sunday.
The offensive was formally announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Government forces retook the eastern side of the city, the last major IS stronghold in Iraq, last month.
But the western side, with its narrow, winding streets, may prove a bigger challenge.
The UN has voiced concern about civilians trapped there, amid reports that they could number up to 650,000.
Leaflets warning residents of an imminent offensive were earlier dropped over the west of the city.