Twelve treated for chemical weapons agents in Mosul since March 1

Number of Iraqis fleeing Mosul nears 60,000

12 people, among them five children, have been hospitalized over the past two days near Iraq's Mosul with injuries from chemical weapons, the Red Cross said on Friday.

The United States has warned that Daesh could use weapons containing sulfur mustard agents to repel the offensive on the northern Iraqi city.

Almost a month after wresting back full control of the city's east bank from the jihadists, Iraqi forces launched a fresh push on the western side, which is a little smaller but very densely populated.

"This is frightful", Lise Grande, the humanitarian coordinator in Iraq said in the statement, "there is never justification - none whatsoever - for the use of chemical weapons".

The ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has acknowledged the group's defeat in Iraq in a "farewell speech" and ordered his non-Arab fighters to either return to their countries or detonate themselves, according to media reports.

Displaced Iraqis walk under rain while fleeing their homes as Iraqi forces battle Daesh in western Mosul, Iraq. Iraqi forces captured the eastern side in January.

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Ten patients from Mosul were in a stable condition, said Hussein Qader, the deputy director of a hospital in Irbil where victims, including children, are being treated.

ISIL, also known as ISIS, which holds the majority of west Mosul, has periodically used rudimentary chemical weapons in the course of its more than two-year war with Iraqi forces.

The battle to retake west Mosul from the Islamic State group has pushed more than 45,000 people to flee, the International Organisation for Migration said on Sunday. "Not only are people terrified and exhausted when they reach us, but they haven't had a proper supply of food, water, and basic medicines for weeks, possibly months", said Koek.

British military commanders are advising the Iraqi army on ousting IS from Mosul and then hunting down the fanatics as they seek to flee to other parts of Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi military forces have uncovered an extensive underground terror training base outside of Mosul.

"We waited until all the ISIL fighters left the streets", he said, his track suit covered in mud from the journey.

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