• A man helps his elderly relative into the back of a pickup truck driven by Iraqi security forces helping families flee clashes with IS militants. (AAP)
More than 40,000 people have been displaced in the last week from the Iraqi city of Mosul, where US-backed forces ramped up their advancements against IS.
Source:
SBS News, AFP
8 Mar 2017 - 8:41 PM  UPDATED 8 Mar 2017 - 8:41 PM

Iraqi forces said on Tuesday they had seized the main government offices in Mosul and its famed museum as they made steady progress in their battle to retake the city's west from jihadists.

Three neighbourhoods were recaptured as part of the advancements announced on the third day of a renewed offensive against IS in west Mosul. This has brought government forces closer to Mosul's populated Old City, where hundreds of thousands of civilians are believed to still be trapped under jihadist rule.

Iraqi forces, with the support of US, began their push against Mosul on February 19. The advance regained momentum on Sunday after bad weather forced it to slow down.

As the battle approaches the most heavily populated parts of western Mosul, the number of those displaced have proliferated. 

The United Nations says displacement rates over the past week are at the highest since the operation began in October. Around 28,400 people are thought to be displaced since the operations began last month.

Aid agencies say they're concerned camps will soon be unable to accommodate the masses of people fleeing the city.

Iraq's Joint Operations Command (JOC) released a statement Tuesday claiming the federal police and the elite Rapid Response Division had been able to "liberate" the Nineveh provincial government headquarters.

It's believed this recapture will help Iraqi forces attack the militants in the nearby old city. Though the buildings are now rubble and currently not used by IS, it's hoped to also mark a symbolic step towards restoring state authority over Mosul.

Iraqi forces have also seized control of the Al-Hurriyah bridgehead. This is widely hoped to be a step towards potentially relinking west Mosul with the city's east, which government forces seized earlier in the offensive.

All the bridges crossing the Tigris in Mosul have been damaged or destroyed leaving the city divided - unless Iraqi forces repaired them or installed floating bridges to reconnect the two banks of the river.

Though the victories show a regain in control over IS, it has come at a dire cost to its citizens who have been left stranded.

Displaced men who fled their homes due to fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants wait for a security check at an Army base in Mosul.

Several thousand militants are thought to live among the remaining civilian population and are using suicide car bombers, snipers and booby traps to counter the offensive waged by the Iraqi troops. 

Thousands of civillians have been killed and more than 30,000 people have reportedly fled Mosul since the operations began.

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