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WATCH: Families in Fallujah risk Euphrates crossing to flee IS

Footage from near besieged city shows dozens of Iraqi families trapped on the river bank, with overcrowded ferries helping them across
A screen grab of footage purportedly showing Iraqis escaping Fallujah (YouTube)

As Iraqi forces struggle to re-take Fallujah from the Islamic State (IS), video has emerged of families risking their lives to leave the besieged city by crossing the Euphrates River.

In one of the videos, which Middle East Eye could not verify independently, more than 100 people are seen standing on the river bank, as two small boats ferry people back and forth.

The footage comes as the Iraqi forces' anti-IS offensive has stalled on Fallujah's outskirts. Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi had said on Sunday it would take two days to enter the city, but is now citing concerns that IS could use residents as human shields.

An estimated 50,000 residents are trapped inside the city, about 50km from the capital Baghdad. At least 20,000 of those are children, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported this week. 

According to the local news agency INP+ on Friday, more than 350 families have crossed the river to escape.