Iraqi forces punch into western Mosul, launch air strikes in Syria

The ICRC said the most dangerous phase of the battle was about to begin for the 750,000 civilians believed to be trapped inside Mosul

  • Troops clash with Islamic State in three western districts

  • Fighting about to enter heavily populated areas

  • Iraqi jets strike IS car bomb factory inside Syria (Adds advances, Syria strikes, detail, colour)

By Stephen Kalin and Isabel Coles

SOUTH OF MOSUL, Iraq, Feb 24 (Reuters) - U.S.-backed Iraqi forces pushed into western Mosul on Friday after retaking the city's airport from Islamic State, as aid agencies warned the most dangerous phase of the offensive was about to begin for hundreds of thousands of civilians.

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