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Iraqi Families Flee Violence From Fight for Fallujah

About 1,000 families have managed to flee the outskirts of Fallujah, but an estimated 50,000 people are trapped in the center of the city.

The battle for Fallujah is shaping up to be unlike any of the other assaults in the Iraqi military's town-by-town war with the Islamic State group.

In the nearly two weeks since the operation began, airstrikes have been used sparingly, Shiite militias have so far been kept to the perimeter, and the initial advance on the symbolically important town has been slow.

Above: Internally displaced civilians from Fallujah flee their homes, gathering on the edge to cross the Euphrates River on June 2, 2016.

AP

Abdul Rahman Ismail, an Iraqi soldier, who has been targeted by Islamic State extremists who destroyed his house two years ago, is reunited with his family after they were able to flee their town held by ISIS to join displaced Iraqi families at an Iraqi army military camp outside Fallujah, Iraq, on June 3. An estimated 50,000 people are trapped in the city.

Khalid Mohammed / AP

Smoke rises from clashes with ISIS militants in Saqlawiya, north of Falluja, Iraq, on June 3.

Reuters

Members of the Iraqi government forces help a man who fled the violence in his village of Saqlawiyah, northwest of Fallujah, at a military point outside his village on June 3.

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP - Getty Images

Internally displaced civilians from Fallujah flee their homes by crossing Euphrates River on a boat heading to a safe haven during fighting between Iraqi security forces and ISIS on June 2.

Aid groups say about 1,000 families have managed to flee the outskirts of Fallujah since the operation began May 22. But the Norwegian Refugee Council, an international humanitarian group that does extensive work in Iraq's Anbar province, says none of the civilians trapped in the center of the city have made it out.

AP

Members of the Iraqi government forces help people who fled the violence in Saqlawiyah carry their belongings at a military point outside their village, on June 3.

Residents have told The Associated Press that ISIS fighters tightly control all roads in and out of the city and have threatened to kill anyone who tries to escape.

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP - Getty Images

Iraqi women and children who fled the violence in their village of Saqlawiyah wait to receive aid at a military point outside their village, on June 3.

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP - Getty Images

Smoke rises after an airstrike by U.S.-led coalition warplanes as Iraqi security forces advance towards the Shuhada neighborhood of Fallujah on June 3.

Khalid Mohammed / AP

Soldiers of the Basra regiment of Iraqi counter-terrorism forces take combat positions during a fight in the Nuaimiya neighborhood of Fallujah, Iraq, on June 1. The U.N. children's fund has issued a stark warning to Iraqi troops and ISIS militants to spare the children amid a battle to retake the city of Fallujah.

Khalid Mohammed / AP

Iraqi soldiers help families from a vehicle outside an Iraqi army military camp near Fallujah, on June 3.

Khalid Mohammed / AP

An Iraqi girl helps a young boy drink as they receive food and aid at a military point after fleeing the violence in their village of Saqlawiyah, on June 3.

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP - Getty Images

Iraqi families gather outside an Iraqi military camp near Fallujah on June 3.

Khalid Mohammed / AP

A helicopter fires weapons during clashes with ISIS militants in Saqlawiya, north of Falluja, Iraq on June 3.

Reuters

Iraqi government forces advance towards the center of Saqlawiyah, north west of Fallujah, during an operation to regain control of the area on June 4.

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP - Getty Images

Displaced Iraqi families arrive to an Iraqi army camp after fleeing their homes during fighting, outside Fallujah, Iraq, on June 4.

AP

Displaced Iraqis, who fled the al-Falahat village west of Fallujah, wait to receive food and aid at the village of al-Azraqiyah, on June 4.

PHOTOS: Iraqi Forces Battle to Recapture Fallujah From ISIS

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP - Getty Images