United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Some 30,000 civilians are trapped by fighting in Tal Afar, according to the United Nations, a city Iraqi forces are working to take back from the Islamic State group.
"Humanitarian assistance is being provided at assembly points to the south and east of Tal Afar town, with more than 300 people having passed through these points yesterday and receiving assistance," UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres's spokesman Stephane Dujarric told journalists on Tuesday.
The UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) fears Iraqi civilians "are likely to be used as human shields" and that "attempts to flee could result in executions and shootings," according to Dujarric.
UNHCR "calls on all parties to the conflict to allow civilians to leave the conflict area and to allow access to safety," he said.
The UN said Monday it expected thousands of civilians to flee the area in the days and weeks to come.
Iraqi forces on Tuesday recaptured from the Islamic State group the first three districts of jihadist bastion Tal Afar.
More than a month after Iraq's second city Mosul was recaptured from IS, troops launched an offensive Sunday to take back Tal Afar, situated 70 kilometers (45 miles) further west.
The Iraqi forces are backed by a US-led international coalition carrying out a campaign of air strikes against IS.