Baghdad: Iraqi forces fully backed by US have launched a final ground offensive against the last stronghold of ISIS at Mosul. This will end ISIS stronghold and will put its followers on the run.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of the offensive in the northern city, asking the armed forces to “respect human rights” during the battle and to take care of those displaced by the fighting.

Islamic State militants are essentially under siege in western Mosul, along with an estimated 650,000 civilians, after they were forced out of the eastern part of the city in the first phase of an offensive that concluded last month, after 100 days of fighting.