In October, the Iraqi army - backed by a US -led air coalition and local allies on the ground - began a wide-ranging campaign to retake Mosul, once Iraq's second largest city in terms of population.
"They are striking and engaging our forces and pulling back toward Mosul", Major Mortada Ali Abd of the Rapid Response units told a Reuters correspondent south of Mosul.
The Observatory also confirmed that they had seen evidence that 25 children had died of starvation in January alone, as Daesh extremists and the Iraqi government, backed by the US-led coalition and Iran-backed Shia jihadists, fight over Mosul.
Athbah and Al-Lazzagah villages were recovered from the clutches of the jihadist group in an operation announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
However, the western side of Mosul, with its narrow streets and a heavy population of between 750,000 and 800,000, appears to be a bigger challenge to the Iraqi forces, according to the United Nations estimates.
Iraqi troops, backed by U.S. forces, launched a ground battle to retake western Mosul from Islamic State (IS) in a campaign that is expected to be complicated and extended, but will mean a significant loss to Islamic State as it will be forced to give up on its territorial ambitions in Iraq. "We are coming, Nineveh, to liberate the western side of Mosul", he said in a brief televised address, referring to the governorate surrounding the city.
The streets around the historic centre, which includes the mosque in which ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his only public appearance in June 2014, will be impassable for many military vehicles and force government fighters to take on ISIL in perilous dismounted warfare.
The coalition has conducted more than 10,000 air strikes on Isil targets in Iraq and trained and equipped more than 70,000 Iraqi troops, the general's statement said.
MSU Gymnastics Coach Kathie Klages Steps Down Amid Scandal
Three football players were suspended from team activities last week after a sexual assault complaint was filed against them. Kathie Klages reportedly resigned one day after being suspended during the program's sexual assault scandal.
The involvement of many local and foreign players with diverging interests in the war, heightens the risk that they could clash between themselves after Islamic State is defeated.
Iraqi forces have attacked ISIS jihadists defending the west of Mosul.
Iraqi planes dropped millions of leaflets on the western side of Mosul on Saturday warning residents that the battle to dislodge ISIS was imminent as troops began moving in their direction.
Mosul is the largest city it captured in both countries and its de facto capital in Iraq.
According to the organisation, up to 650,000 residents may be trapped in the area.
About 160,000 civilians have been displaced since the start of the offensive in October, U.N. officials say.
The fight for Mosul's western half could be even more protracted than for its east.
The humanitarian agencies were gearing up to aid 250,000 to 400,000 civilians who may flee because of the fighting, the statement said.
Video from KTLA showed windows on a Whitter Police Department SUV shattered, and debris scattered across the road. Few details have been released about the incident, and it was not immediately clear what prompted the shooting.
Around Jan. 25, the document says he posted on Facebook the following statement: "Clean up world jewelry in the name of Yahweh". In an instant message on Facebook, McDowell requested an " iron ", a code word for a firearm, the complaint against him said.
The whale stranding, at Farewell Spit at the top of South Island, is one of the worst ever in New Zealand. And Farewell Spit is located on the north end of Golden Bay, a known hotspot for pilot whale strandings.
The majority of those arrested last week had criminal records but some were for misdemeanour crimes, such as traffic violations. He said the focus of the recent raids was on risky criminals, but said it also included anyone who had broken immigration laws.
It would be up to the Jeff Sessions Justice Department to review the transcript and bring a case, if it saw fit. He had "no problem" with Flynn talking to the Russians, according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
McCain also said he's concerned about presidential advisor Steve Bannon's role on the National Security Council. He will head back to the White House on Sunday night ahead of another monumental week for his presidency.
Legal constraints bar Pruitt from simply firing any EPA employee who is genuinely committed to environmental protection. Senate on Friday confirmed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be EPA administrator in a 52-46 vote.
The House Committee on Ways and Means and House Committee on Energy and Commerce will be tasked with marking up the plan . Bob Corker (R-TN) confessed that "there's not any real discussion taking place" on Capitol Hill about a replacement.
And similar to the new findings , marital relationship quality and stress are the dominant aspect of paternal depression. The researchers found elevated symptoms of prenatal depression in 82 fathers, or 2.3 per cent of the total participants.
During one of his confirmation hearings, Puzder confirmed that he and his wife had employed an undocumented housekeeper for years. Puzder was less a Labor Secretary nominee and more a caricature of what a ridiculous cabinet selection looks like.
South Korea accuses North Korea of Kim Jong Nam assassination
A man in his mid-40s, Kim Jong-nam was waiting for his flight home to Macau when, authorities say, he was set upon by two women. Officers have already arrested one North Korean, a Malaysian man and a Vietnamese woman, as well as an Indonesian woman.
Former Chief Branden Albert released by Dolphins
That being said, don't be shocked if the veteran is considering retirement after battling injuries for several years. Williams, 32, signed with the Dolphins last offseason after he was released by the Buffalo Bills.