Iraqi special forces backed by the US have taken control of two districts in eastern Mosul on Saturday (12 November) despite "intense" fighting and suicide bombings.

Troops entered Al Qadisiyah a day earlier and have reclaimed the territory from Islamic State (Isis) alongside neighbouring Arbajiyah.

It is part of an offensive to retake Mosul – Iraq's second largest city and the only remaining Isis stronghold in the country.

An Iraqi military statement said that nine cars used as suicide bombs were destroyed and more than 30 jihadist militants were killed, report Reuters.

Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) are leading the offensive, which first started on 17 October and will now move eastwards towards the Al Bakr district.

The unit is part of a 100,000-strong coalition of soldiers deployed to capture the northern Iraqi city.

"The fighting is intense this morning," Staff Lieutenant Colonel Muntadhar Salem of CTS told The Independent.

"We're trying to fortify our positions in Arbajiyah before continuing our attack into Al Bakr."

Though the Iraqi army has made numerous inroads into Isis-held territory in the outskirts, pushing into the heart of the city will prove more difficult.

The urban landscape inside Mosul makes it easier for the militants to defend and the fighting is expected to last several months.

However, as fighting has edged closer and closer to densely populated areas, numerous people have been seen fleeing with arms raised and carrying white flags.

The International Organisation for Migration says so far 49,000 people have been displaced by the conflict, which is expected to be one of the most complex since the Western coalition's 2003 invasion of the country.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Iraq has said the fallout from the Mosul offensive could be one of the world's biggest humanitarian disasters.

It estimated that upwards of 1.2 million people will be affected and that more than 700,000 will need emergency accommodation.