United Nations preparing for possible chemical attack in Iraq's Mosul


Advance elements of Iraqi and Kurdish forces are about 6 miles from the edge of Mosul.

In Iraq, the offensive to retake the northern city of Mosul from ISIL continues.

Kaynak said that "the worst scenario predicted by the Meteorology Directorate is that the toxic cloud will pass by our Hakkari borders and proceed directly to the Caspian Sea". He said local tribal and militia forces have been deployed to protect the gains while his troops regroup for their next push toward the city.

"They said if you don't come with us you're an unbeliever".

The fight to retake Mosul, which fell to Islamic State in a matter of days in 2014, is the largest military operation undertaken in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion. But the two sides remain divided over the boundaries of the Kurdish region and the sharing of Iraq's oil wealth.

Most of those executed were former members of the Iraqi police and army who had lived in areas under Islamic State control south of Mosul, Abdul Rahman al-Waggaa, a member of the Nineveh provincial council, told Reuters.

They spoke at a staging area in the Khazer region, east of Mosul.

"We were not allowed to smoke, to use phones, not allowed to watch TV and we had to let our beards grow long", the 36-year-old said. Because Sinjar is becoming a new Qandil.

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Now 10 days into the battle of Mosul, special forces are still four miles to the east of the city and are constantly having to dodge ISIS firing mortars and armoured suicide truck bombs trundling across the arid plains. He says "the operation has not been stopped and is proceeding as planned".

Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitary groups are about to launch an offensive on Islamic State positions west of Mosul, assisting in the military campaign to take back the city, a spokesman says.

The battle to regain the second largest city of Iraq is considered to be the biggest ground battle ever since the allied troops led by the United States stormed into Iraq in 2003.

The U.S. military says Iraqi forces have retaken 40 villages from the Islamic State group near Mosul since a massive operation to drive the militants from the city began last week.

The World Health Organization said that of the 700,000 people expected to flee Mosul, some 200,000 will require emergency health services, including more than 90,000 children needing vaccinations and 8,000 pregnant women.

News of the Shi'ite push comes as the U.S. military says Iraqi forces have retaken 40 villages from Islamic State near Mosul since the massive operation to drive the militants from the city began last week.

Internally displaced persons clear a checkpoint in Qayara, some 50 kilometers south of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016.

As the Iraqi force - made up of Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni tribesmen, Shiite militiamen, many backed by Iran - inches closer to Mosul, ISIS is committing "barbaric acts" against some of the estimated 1.5 million people who reside in the city, according to the United Nations.