>> The brutal end game in the battle for Mosul. Iraqi forces pushing Islamic State back into their final refuge, the alleyways of the old city. Their ultimate goal lies beyond the very mosque where the group's leader infamously declared a caliphate in 2014. For now, their black flag still flies above.
Reuters, John Davidson is in Mosul.>> The battle is still going on around this area a little bit further forward. There was a car bomb that just exploded a few hundred meters to our right here. And then helicopter gunships have been passing overhead and it's firing missiles and gun fire in Islamic State positions inside, in Mosul old city.
Over half a million civilians are caught in the crossfire. Trapped by the retreating forces, and the aerial assaults of their assailants.>> There are more and more civilians being killed, as fighting has entered the more crowded, old city area. And densely populated areas of western Mosul and a lot of air strikes have killed, sometimes entire families, people say.
>> Many still risk it, such is their desperation to escape.>>
> On these carts are the bodies of children.
Their lost too painful for the families to leave them behind.>> This happened because of airstrikes. They ruin their homes and airstrikes killed them.>> Those who remain in the city face a desperate struggle to survive. No food has been brought in for months. The only water is in wells.
e hope is that victory is in sight. For the people of Mosul, it can't come soon enough.