A mother and her son have been reunited after being separated when they fled the besieged town of Mosul in Iraq. The Iraqi army, aided by an international coalition, is fighting against the Isis terror group to retake control of the city, which the militants seized in 2014.
Mohammed Mowaffaq was a young boy when he was forced to flee his home in the Tanak neighbourhood. His father had been killed after being suspected of smuggling people out of Mosul, soon after the siege of Iraq's second largest city began three years ago.
"Our life was good [in Mosul] until they came from nowhere and war started. We used to go to school but they destroyed even that," he told the UN children's charity (Unicef), which helped him reunite with his mother.
"I tried to escape four times but got caught. The last time we tried to escape they caught us. They held a knife to my throat and we couldn't escape," he continued.
Mohammed eventually managed to escape with his cousin, while his mother fled with the rest of the family three months later.
The family was later reunited by Unicef at a displacement camp near the city.
"When I saw my mother I was so happy. I hugged her and started to cry," said Mohammed. The family does not plan to return to Mosul.
"I will never go back after what I've experienced," Wathha said. "My family were dying in front of me. They were starving to death. I can't go back."
The Iraqi army, the Kurdistan Regional government and a US-led coalition are involved in what is known as the 'Battle for Mosul', a joint military offensive that began in October 2016.
More than 790,000 people have fled Mosul since the start of said offensive.
The army recaptured eastern Mosul in January and is now fighting to retake control of the western part of the city. Troops are now advancing in the last pocket of territory held by the militants in Mosul's Old City neighbourhood, prompting the militants to destroy the al-Nuri Mosque in June.
The mosque was highly symbolic as it was used by Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to deliver his declaration of the establishment of an Isis caliphate (religious state), when the group emerged in 2014. Isis used it as a base to become an unprecedented global terror threat.
It is believed Isis now controls just one square kilometre warren of alleyways in the city centre and the army estimates it can retake full control of the city in a matter of days. However, several previous timetables for the final defeat of the Isis hold-outs have been missed.
Iraqis prepared to celebrate the expected victory over Isis on Sunday (2 July), with troops tying white banners and Iraqi flags to lamp posts and damaged buildings, Reuters reported. The government said it was planning a week-long celebration.