Status of main battle fronts in Iraq and Syria

Baghdad (AFP) - Here is a look at the latest developments on the ground on the main fronts of the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, as of 1800 GMT on Friday:

IRAQ

- Battle for Mosul -

Iraqi forces battling the Islamic State group deep inside Mosul were urged by an aid group to create safe exits for residents.

The International Rescue Committee also predicted that the fighting to retake IS's northern stronghold would last until the spring of 2017 and worried that the trapped population would run out of supplies or take huge risks to flee.

Since the October 17 start of a broad offensive to retake Mosul, Iraqi forces have already recaptured several eastern neighbourhoods despite fierce jihadist resistance.

A senior Iraqi commander said Wednesday that 40 percent of eastern Mosul had now been retaken.

Iraqi forces are also closing in on Mosul airport south of the city.

SYRIA

- Raqa -

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance, is advancing in the desert as it tries to push closer to IS's de facto Syrian capital of Raqa.

The SDF has been battling the jihadists to drive them from positions some 25 kilometres (15 miles) north of the city.

- Battle for Aleppo -

The Syrian army advanced in Aleppo after pounding the city's rebel-held east with air strikes and shelling that killed dozens.

State television said army units were advancing into Masaken Hanano, east Aleppo's largest district.

Almost 190 civilians, including 19 children, have been killed in east Aleppo since the latest assault began on November 15, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Another 16 civilians, including 10 children, have been killed in rebel fire on western Aleppo, it says.

- Other fronts -

Syrian rebels backed by Turkish forces are inching closer to the IS stronghold of Al-Bab in Aleppo province, as they press Ankara's Operation "Euphrates Shield" to expel IS from the border area.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the Syrian conflict with his Russian Counterpart Vladimir Putin after the Turkish army accused Damascus of killing four soldiers in northern Syria on Thursday.

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