20/10/2016 10:24 PM IST | Updated 20/10/2016 10:30 PM IST

Breathtaking Photos Reveal The Dangers Soldiers Face In Battle For Mosul, Iraq

YASIN AKGUL via Getty Images
A man takes a selfie in front of oil that has been set ablaze in the Qayyarah area of Iraq, some 35 miles south of Mosul, on Thursday during an Iraqi forces operation against Islamic State militants in the battle for the key city.

Iraqi and Kurdish forces, backed by a Western coalition of states including the U.S., are busy trying to take back Mosul from the so-called Islamic State.

The militant group has controlled the Iraqi city for two years. The battle is expected to be the largest in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, according to Reuters news agency.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Mosul in the past few years, but around 1.5 million still live in the city.

Coalition forces anticipate that the offensive will take several weeks, though it’s going quicker than planned, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Thursday.

The below images give a real sense of what those fighting on the ground are dealing with every day: