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UN Says 200,000 More People Could Flee Mosul Fighting

Displaced residents flee during clashes between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants in western Mosul on May 16.

The United Nations says up to 200,000 more people could flee Mosul as fighting in the northern Iraqi city of intensifies.

"The numbers of people who are moving are now so large, it’s becoming more and more difficult to ensure civilians receive the assistance and protection they need," UN humanitarian coordinator Lise Grande said on May 18.

Nearly 700,000 people have already been displaced from Mosul since Iraq’s military launched a major operation to retake the city from the extremist group Islamic State (IS) in October.

Backed by a U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi forces have driven the militants from most of Mosul but are still controlling several western districts, including the Old City.

Grande said residents were leaving "under very difficult circumstances," adding that many of them were "food insecure and haven't had access to safe drinking water and medicines for weeks or months."

Mosul fell to IS militants in the summer of 2014 and is their last major urban stronghold in Iraq.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters