>> Trying to close the ring around Mosul, Iraqi forces and allied militia's battling Islamic State in surrounding villages. But Islamic State fighters won't abandon their de facto capitol easily. They're leaving danger and environmental destruction in their wake. In Qayyarah, 60 kilometers to the south, toxic fumes rise from oil wells that Islamic State set alight on their retreat months ago, as Iraqi forces fought their way towards Mosul.
Reuters correspondent, John Davison, is there.>> So, these fires have been burning now since August. Now, mechanical engineers have come to try and put the blazes out. They've already capped off a number of the wells but the work is very, very dangerous. Partly because of the fires and the smoke that they're inhaling.
And also because ISIS have actually sowed the area with land mines.>>
> In this video purport to show Islamic State fighters seizing tents and munitions in a town north of Mosul. But Iraqi forces have closed off the cities main approaches to the north, east and south backed by US lead air power.
And they're trying to push the militants from eastern parts of the city itself only Mosul's western approach linking it to Islamic State territory in Syria remains open. Thousands of Iraqi civilians are fleeing the town of Tal Afar, 60 kilometers to the west of the city as Shiite malicious close in.
The residents are Sunni Muslim so, there are fears of sectarian violence. Nearly 70,000 people are registered displaced by the Mosul campaign fleeing to camps in government held areas. But humanitarian groups are particularly concerned about the people of Tal Afar. About half of the 3,000 families that have left have fled towards insurgent territory in Syria, beyond their help with no camps to be found.