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Iraqi forces said 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.
More than 40,000 people have been displaced in the last week from the Iraqi city of Mosul, where U.S.-backed forces launched a fresh push towards the Islamic State-held old city center on Sunday and closed in on the main government complex.
As of Sunday, a total of 206,520 individuals have been forced into displacement as a result of the ongoing Mosul operations which began on Oct.17, 2016, a tracking system developed by the International Organization for Migrants (IOM) showed.
The Syrian army said on Thursday it had recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra from Islamic State for the second time in a year, with help from allied forces and Russian warplanes.
Syrian peace talks in Geneva edged forwards on Wednesday, for the first time in six days of U.N.-led talks, as both sides saw hope of shaping the agenda to their liking and opposition negotiators met a senior diplomat from powerbroker Russia.
Russian-backed Syrian government forces and their allies fought their way into Palmyra on Wednesday, driving back Islamic State militants who have held the historic city since December, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported.
The United Nations and humanitarian agencies said that the number of people displaced by the ongoing fighting in western Mosul in north Iraq has continued to surge, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said here on Wednesday.
Hundreds of civilians fled through the desert Tuesday to escape fighting and privation in Mosul, joining thousands of others who left their homes amid dire conditions in the city's west.
The UN Security Council on Tuesday failed to adopt a draft resolution aiming to impose sanctions over alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as Russia and China vetoed it.
The families cowered in basements, huddling in the dark as war raged overhead between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants fighting for control of the streets of Mosul.