Leaflets dropped over western Mosul to warn of Iraqi military offensive

Members of the Iraqi Special Forces clear a building in eastern Mosul on January 2, 2017.

Story highlights

  • Millions of leaflets are dropped over western Mosul late Saturday
  • They tell residents how to prepare and warn ISIS members to surrender

(CNN)The Iraqi Air Force dropped millions of leaflets over western Mosul late Saturday warning residents of an offensive by ground forces on the ISIS-held part of the city, which has so far been targeted only by airstrikes.

Iraqi forces have had control of the eastern part of the city, which is divided by the Tigris River, since January.
    The leaflets say Iraqi forces are making advancements to the western side and "provide guidance and recommendations" for citizens ahead of the offensive, according to a statement from the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC).
    The leaflets included warnings for both residents and ISIS fighters.
    The leaflets also warn ISIS members to "lay down their weapons and surrender before they face their inevitable fate at the hands of our heroic forces," the statement said.
    As many as 800,000 civilians live in western Mosul, according to the United Nations. It said UN humanitarian agencies in Iraq are preparing to assist civilians caught in the fighting.