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23 Intense Photographs From The Military Offensive To Take Back Mosul From ISIS

BuzzFeed News has been reporting from the front lines of the battle for Mosul since military operations officially began in mid-October.

Posted on October 30, 2016, at 4:30 a.m. ET

In the two weeks since the long-awaited offensive to wrest Mosul from ISIS began, Iraqi and Kurdish forces have been gradually pushing forward, liberating villages along the way that were once under ISIS control.

The battle so far has been bloody — Iraq’s elite forces have faced ISIS fighters who have attacked with a barrage of suicide car bombs, heavy machine-gun fire, and IEDs (improvised explosive devices), along with constant mortar attacks.

As Iraqi and Kurdish forces continue to take control of villages leading to Mosul, they are constantly threatened by fears of ISIS hiding among civilians to make a last attempt to kill them. The militants are entrenched among an estimated 1 million people in their most important city and are expected to take cover among them.

The images below were all taken in the weeks since anti-ISIS forces prepared to launch an offensive to retake Mosul on Oct. 17.

A Kurdish special forces commander checks out the humvees before a battle in deep ISIS territory north of Mosul.
Warzer Jaff for BuzzFeed News

A Kurdish special forces commander checks out the humvees before a battle in deep ISIS territory north of Mosul.

Golden Brigade commander Major-General Fadhil Barwari, left, and his troops camp out in a village outside of Erbil before the beginning of the operations.
Warzer Jaff for BuzzFeed News

Golden Brigade commander Major-General Fadhil Barwari, left, and his troops camp out in a village outside of Erbil before the beginning of the operations.

Peshmerga forces spend the night at the frontline outside of Mosul, waiting to start the offensive in the morning.
Warzer Jaff for BuzzFeed News

Peshmerga forces spend the night at the frontline outside of Mosul, waiting to start the offensive in the morning.

Kurdish special forces prepare ahead of the offensive.
Warzer Jaff for Buzzfeed News

Kurdish special forces prepare ahead of the offensive.

A peshmerga convoy moves toward villages outside of Mosul.
Warzer Jaff for BuzzFeed News

A peshmerga convoy moves toward villages outside of Mosul.

Warzer Jaff for BuzzFeed News
Kurdish forces push forward as they enter and liberate villages that were once occupied by ISIS.
Warzer Jaff for BuzzFeed News

Kurdish forces push forward as they enter and liberate villages that were once occupied by ISIS.

An ISIS car bomb driving toward Kurdish special forces convoy north of Mosul. Kurdish special forces were able to blow it up before it reached its target.
Warzer Jaff for BuzzFeed News

An ISIS car bomb driving toward Kurdish special forces convoy north of Mosul. Kurdish special forces were able to blow it up before it reached its target.

Kurdish special forces blow up an ISIS car bomb as it approaches their convoy during a mission north of Mosul.
Warzer Jaff for Buzzfeed News

Kurdish special forces blow up an ISIS car bomb as it approaches their convoy during a mission north of Mosul.

A Kurdish soldier is carried by his comrades after being badly wounded by mortar fire during a mission north of Mosul. Doctors later amputated one of his legs.
Warzer Jaff for Buzzfeed News

A Kurdish soldier is carried by his comrades after being badly wounded by mortar fire during a mission north of Mosul. Doctors later amputated one of his legs.

A wounded Kurdish special forces soldier receives medical treatment after his convoy was hit by mortars from a nearby village controlled by ISIS.
Warzer Jaff for BuzzFeed News

A wounded Kurdish special forces soldier receives medical treatment after his convoy was hit by mortars from a nearby village controlled by ISIS.

Elite Kurdish special forces take cover behind barriers while opening up a front north of Mosul.
Warzer Jaff for Buzzfeed News

Elite Kurdish special forces take cover behind barriers while opening up a front north of Mosul.

Kurdish special forces react inside their vehicle minutes after members of their unit were wounded from a mortar fire. One soldier died and another lost his leg.
Warzer Jaff for BuzzFeed News

Kurdish special forces react inside their vehicle minutes after members of their unit were wounded from a mortar fire. One soldier died and another lost his leg.

Warzer Jaff for BuzzFeed News
A woman with no shoes on her feet tries to get away from the fighting as Iraqi forces enter Topzawa.
Warzer Jaff for BuzzFeed News

A woman with no shoes on her feet tries to get away from the fighting as Iraqi forces enter Topzawa.

Civilians try to get to safety after Iraqi forces entered the village of Topwaza.
Warzer Jaff for BuzzFeed News

Civilians try to get to safety after Iraqi forces entered the village of Topwaza.

Villagers in Topwaza came out carrying white flags as Iraqi forces announced on loudspeakers that they would be unharmed.
Warzer Jaff for BuzzFeed News

Villagers in Topwaza came out carrying white flags as Iraqi forces announced on loudspeakers that they would be unharmed.

Warzer Jaff for BuzzFeed News
Warzer Jaff for BuzzFeed News
Iraqi special forces captured a man they suspected of being an ISIS fighter.
Warzer Jaff for BuzzFeed News

Iraqi special forces captured a man they suspected of being an ISIS fighter.


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