Families fleeing Islamic State (Isis) violence in the city of Mosul in Iraq are seeking temporary shelter in Makhmour, around 40 miles south of the IS stronghold. A youth centre in the town is currently housing more than 2,000 people, all of whom are exhausted by the long journey they have made. There they are given food and water by Iraqi security forces.

Fleeing Mosul
A displaced woman carries her child in a building that is used as a temporary shelter in MakhmourAzad Lashkari/ Reuters
Fleeing Mosul
Iraqis fleeing the violence in the northern city of Mosul arrive at the Kurdish checkpoint of MakhmurSafin Hamed /AFP
Fleeing Mosul
People, displaced by violence from Islamic State militants, gather in a building that is used as a temporary shelter in MakhmourAzad Lashkari/Reuters

Mosul is still home to more than a million people, now under the occupation of IS militants, who took over the city in June 2014. Those who remain in the war-torn city live in fear. Residents are not permitted to leave IS-controlled areas, and are executed if caught. Prior to the invasion, roughly half a million people escaped, after warnings from Kurdish intelligence that the city would be attacked, which were ignored by the government.

Fleeing Mosul
Sunni Muslims who fled the Islamic State's strongholds of Hawija and Shirqat rest in a refugee centre in MakhmourAzad Lashkari/Reuters
Fleeing Mosul
Sunni Muslims rest in a refugee centre in MakhmourAzad Lashkari/Reuters
Fleeing Mosul
People displaced by violence from Islamic State militants gather in a building in MakhmourAzad Lashkari/Reuters
Fleeing Mosul
Iraqi families, who fled the violence in the northern city of Mosul, gather in a hall at the youth sports centre where they found refugeSafin Hamed /AFP
Fleeing Mosul
A displaced Sunni woman, who fled from Islamic State violence in Mosul, sits inside a mosque as a shelter on the outskirts of NajafAlaa Al-Marjani/Reuters
Fleeing Mosul
A general view shows clothes hanging from the balconies of the Al-Amal Hope Centre in ArbilSafin Hamed /AFP
Fleeing Mosul
A child, who fled the violence in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, rests at the Al-Amal Hope Centre in ArbilSafin Hamed /AFP
Fleeing Mosul
A woman stands outside a basketball court at a youth sports centre which provides refuge for those fleeing the city of MosulSafin Hamed /AFP

Iraqi government forces have pledged to retake Mosul later this year, but progress has often been fitful. On 24 March, Iraqi troops were deployed to the Makhmour area, where they set up base alongside the Kurdish Peshmerga and US forces. The areas is set to be the the base for first phase of liberation of Mosul and the surrounding areas.

However, claiming back the territory is not the only priority. They also need to win back civilians, many of whom initially welcomed the militants, viewing them as an escape from a government which they believed to be biased and heavy-handed.

Fleeing Mosul
A Sunni man who fled the Islamic State's strongholds of Hawija and Shirqat arrive at a refugee centre in MakhmourAzad Lashkari/Reuters
Fleeing Mosul
Sunni Muslims sit in a refugee centre in MakhmourAzad Lashkari/Reuters
Fleeing Mosul
A displaced woman, who fled from Islamic State violence in Mosul, makes bread in refugee camp on the outskirts of the Kurdish city of ArbilAzad Lashkari/Reuters
Fleeing Mosul
Displaced people gather inside a temporary shelter in MakhmourAzad Lashkari/Reuters
Fleeing Mosul
Men and boys rest on mattresses at the youth sports centre where they found refuge in MakhmurSafin Hamed /AFP
Fleeing Mosul
A man shaves his beard at the youth sports centre where he found refuge with his family in MakhmurSafin Hamed /AFP
Fleeing Mosul
Two girls who fled the violence in the northern city of Mosul, sit on the steps of the youth sports centreSafin Hamed /AFP
Fleeing Mosul
A woman hangs her washing on a wire next to a basketball court at a youth sports centre where she found refuge with her family in MakhmurSafin Hamed /AFP
Fleeing Mosul
Young children in a basketball court in the city of MosulSafin Hamed /AFP
Fleeing Mosul
People displaced by violence from Islamic State militants gather in a building, which is being used as a temporary shelter in MakhmourAzad Lashkari/Reuters
Fleeing Mosul
A child plays next to a basketball court at the youth sports centre where they found refuge in MakhmurSafin Hamed /AFP

US and Iraqi military officials have been discussing a plan to retake Mosul, which fell to IS in June 2014. US President Barack Obama will have the chance to decide on whether to increase the number of US forces in Iraq in the coming weeks, according to Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The extra troops would bolster the capabilities of Iraqi forces preparing for a major offensive.