Middle East

UN: 8,000 flee as Iraqi forces fight IS in western Mosul

  • An Iraqi Army soldier, right, helps displaced civilians as they flee their homes due to fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants, on the western side of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Feb. 26. 2017. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

    An Iraqi Army soldier, right, helps displaced civilians as they flee their homes due to fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants, on the western side of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Feb. 26. 2017. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Displaced men who fled their homes due to fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants wait for a security check at an Iraqi Army base, west of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Feb. 26. 2017. Iraqi militarized police captured a neighborhood on the western side of Mosul on Sunday amid fierce clashes with Islamic State militants, as thousands of people continued to flee the battle to government-controlled areas, security officials said. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

    Displaced men who fled their homes due to fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants wait for a security check at an Iraqi Army base, west of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Feb. 26. 2017. Iraqi militarized police captured a neighborhood on the western side of Mosul on Sunday amid fierce clashes with Islamic State militants, as thousands of people continued to flee the battle to government-controlled areas, security officials said. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

The United Nations says about 8,000 people have fled from the western part of Mosul and surrounding villages since Iraqi forces launched the push to take the western half of the city from the Islamic State group.

The U.N. humanitarian aid office said on Tuesday those who fled and reached government-controlled areas south of Mosul "are often exhausted and dehydrated."

OCHA says aid agencies and the Iraqi government are expanding displacement sites in the area. It also says there are "high" trauma casualty rates from western Mosul, with at least 75 civilians treated near the front lines.

Last week, Iraq launched an offensive to rout IS from Mosul's west, with the support of the U.S.-led coalition. Iraq declared eastern Mosul "fully liberated" in January, after three months of fierce fighting.