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Mosul civilians brace for assault as Iraq forces bid to retake Isis stronghold

Residents tell how they face a choice between airstrikes and a potential siege if they stay, and punishment by Isis if caught fleeing Hundreds of thousands of civilians are bracing themselves for the start of an Iraqi army campaign to retake Mosul from Isis, which they fear will bring “the whole world” to fight over their city. Militants have banned civilians from leaving the city, and have set up checkpoints on roads out and blown up the homes of those who do flee as punishment and to deter others.
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