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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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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