Iraqi forces say they have dislodged Islamic State (Isis/Daesh) from one third of the eastern side of Mosul. Special forces and a tank division have been fighting to expand their foothold in the east of the city for nearly two weeks.

The elite Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) had faced fierce resistance from the militants, who launched waves of suicide bombers, sniper attacks and ambushes. The fierce ebb and flow of battle in Mosul's eastern districts is leaving residents feeling under constant threat, even after army advances in their neighbourhoods, as counter-attacks by Islamic State jihadists often put them straight back in the firing line.

Battle for Mosul
A Peshmerga fighter investigates a house in BashiqaOdd Andersen/AFP
Battle for Mosul
Soldiers from the Iraqi Special Forces' 2nd division point out incoming fire to comrades in a building across the road during fighting with Islamic State jihadists in the Arbagiah neighbourhood of MosulOdd Andersen/AFP
Battle for Mosul
An Iraqi special forces soldier runs across a street in MosulGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Battle for Mosul
An Iraqi special forces soldier looks towards a part of Mosul controlled by Islamic State fightersGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Battle for Mosul
Iraqi special forces soldiers fire weapons at Islamic State fighters in MosulGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Battle for Mosul
Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
Battle for Mosul
Men drag the body of an Islamic State fighter before burying him near Karamah, south of MosulGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Battle for Mosul
Members of the Iraqi forces in the village of Arbid on the southern outskirts of Mosul are pictured watching Donald Trump giving a speech after he won the US president elections on 9 November 2016Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP

The CTS special forces spearheading the advance into Mosul are part of a 100,000-strong force of army, security forces, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and mainly Shi'ite "Popular Mobilisation" forces aiming to drive Isis from the largest city under their control.

With air and ground support from a US-led coalition, they are trying to consolidate gains made in the east of the city. They have been fighting in a dozen of the roughly 50 neighbourhoods of the city, which is divided in two by the Tigris river.

They are yet to enter the northern or southern areas of Mosul, where more than one million people are thought to be living.

Battle for Mosul
Foreign volunteers treat 12-year-old Mohammed at an outdoor field clinic in the Samah neighbourhood in Mosul after he was hit in a double barrelled mortar attack seriously injuring Mohammed and killing his 15-year-old neighbour ShafiqOdd Andersen/AFP
Battle for Mosul
Father and grandfather of 15-year-old Shafiq mourn as Iraqi forces surround his body at an outdoor field clinic in the Samah neighbourhood in MosulOdd Andersen/AFP
Battle for Mosul
A young boy injured by an IED in the Entisar neighbourhood of Mosul waits for treatment in an ambulance outide a camp in Kalak, IraqChris McGrath/Getty Images
Battle for Mosul
The skin on five-year-old Doaa's arms and neck is blackened after a rocket fired by Islamic State landed and exploded in Qayyara, IraqAri Jalal/Reuters
Battle for Mosul
Residents lining up for food packages look at the sky as a helicopter strafes nearby buildings in a street behind the frontline in the Intisar neighbourhood of MosulChris McGrath/Getty Images
Battle for Mosul
Women and children react as a helicopter strafes nearby buildings while they wait to receive food packages distributed by the Iraqi Army Armoured Ninth Division in a street behind the frontline in the Intisar neighbourhood of MosulChris McGrath/Getty Images
Battle for Mosul
Soldiers from the Iraqi Army Armoured Ninth Division hold a man for questioning in a street just metres away from the frontline in the Intisar neighbourhood of MosulChris McGrath/Getty Images

Iraqi officials say the militants have used the city's remaining residents as human shields, firing from rooftops of inhabited houses and using a network of tunnels to launch ambushes in the midst of residential areas.

Battle for Mosul
The laser from a Peshmerga fighter's assault rifle is seen as he enters an Islamic State tunnel in Ba'ashiqahOdd Andersen/AFP
Battle for Mosul
The entrance to an Isis tunnel is seen in a building in Ba'ashiqahChris McGrath/Getty Images
Battle for Mosul
Copies of the Quran are seen in a bedroom inside a tunnel used by Islamic State fighters in Ba'ashiqahChris McGrath/Getty Images
Battle for Mosul
Food and other supplies are seen in a kitchen inside a tunnel used by Isis in Ba'ashiqaChris McGrath/Getty Images
Battle for Mosul
A machine used by Isis to bore tunnels is seen at the Iraqi Army Armoured Ninth Division base in MosulChris McGrath/Getty Images

So far, 56,000 people have fled their homes in Mosul for camps in the surrounding desert or safer areas during the battle. The United Nations and Iraqi government say hundreds of thousands more may be uprooted as the frontline presses deeper into the city. Many houses have already been abandoned by families who fled during Islamic State's two and a half years of brutal rule. Many homes are spray painted with the words "house for sale"; offered up by families for a pittance for the funds to escape.

Hundreds of Iraqi civilians have been spilling into the streets in areas recently retaken from Islamic State to demand food from the military as rations run low in their neighbourhoods, an Iraqi officer said. The ultra-hardline Islamic State, which has ruled Mosul since sweeping through northern Iraq in 2014, has imposed a ruthless authority across the city, crushing dissent, killing opponents and forcing people to follow their strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Battle for Mosul
An Iraqi woman holds her cat named Lulu, as she waits for transport in the Kurdish checkpoint village of Shaqouli, about 35 kilometres east of Mosul, after she and her children fled their home in the eastern Intisar neighbourhood of the embattled cityOdd Andersen/AFP
Battle for Mosul
An Iraqi man who fled the fighting uses a pair of scissors to trim his beard after reaching the Iraqi army 9th armoured division base near the Al-Intissar neighbourhood of MosulOdd Andersen/AFP
Battle for Mosul
A man smokes his first cigarette after fleeing Isis-controlled MosulChris McGrath/Getty Images
Battle for Mosul
A man shows Iraqi forces he isn't wearing explosives as he crosses from an Isis-controlled part of Mosul into a part of the city controlled by government forcesGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Battle for Mosul
An Iraqi soldier carries a child as he helps a woman to cross from an Isis-controlled part of Mosul into an Iraqi special forces soldiers-controlled part of the cityGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Battle for Mosul
A displaced Iraqi boy holds up a white flag while fleeing Samah neighbourhood in MosulAhmed Jadallah/Reuters
Battle for Mosul
A woman cries after she finds out that her 15-year-old son Maitham was killed by an Islamic State mortar in Samah neighbourhood, MosulAhmed Jadallah/Reuters
Battle for Mosul
Displaced people flee Samah neighbourhood in Mosul during a fight between Islamic State and the Iraqi Counter Terrorism ServiceAhmed Jadallah/Reuters

The United Nations said smoke from oil wells and a chemical plant torched by IS near Mosul has forced more than 1,500 people to seek medical treatment for respiratory problems. The group's humanitarian affairs coordination office said the fires have emitted toxic smoke for 25 to 60 days, affecting 14 towns. It said the mid- and long-term effects on people's health, the environment, agriculture and livelihoods could be serious.

Battle for Mosul
A fighter from a local tribe keeps watch from his rooftop outpost under smoke filled skies from burning oil wells set on fire by fleeing Isis militants in Al QayyarahChris McGrath/Getty Images
Battle for Mosul
Firefighters work to extinguish an oil well set on fire by fleeing Isis members in Al Qayyarah, IraqChris McGrath/Getty Images
Battle for Mosul
A child pushes a sheep, with wool blackened by smoke and oil from burning oil wells set on fire by fleeing Isis members, in Al QayyarahChris McGrath/Getty Images

Saad Maan, the interior ministry spokesman, said so far 955 insurgents had been killed and 108 captured on the southern frontlines alone. He did not give a toll for the campaign overall – either for security forces, civilians or Islamic State fighters. In an online statement, Islamic State said it killed 412 Iraqi government and Kurdish fighters during the fourth week of the battle. On the southern front, Human Rights Watch said that Iraqi soldiers, militiamen and civilians had mutilated the bodies of Islamic State militants.