AL QAYYARAH, IRAQ - NOVEMBER 09:  A firefighter works to extinguish an oil well set on fire by fleeing ISIS members on November 9, 2016 in Al Qayyarah, Iraq. Many families have begun returning to their homes in recently liberated towns south of Mosul. Oil wells in the area that were set on fire by ISIS continue to burn blanketing the area in think clouds of smoke and oil.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Fight for Mosul: One month on

Updated 4:41 AM ET, Sat November 19, 2016

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(CNN)Suicide bombs and street-to-street fighting, human shields and a humanitarian crisis. The battle to recapture Mosul from ISIS has been raging for a month. So where do things stand?

Are Iraqi-led forces close to victory, or are the militants digging in for a lengthy and dogged war of attrition?

The battle

Iraqi special forces soldiers move in formation in an alley on the outskirts of Mosul.
Mosul is ISIS's last major stronghold in Iraq -- and the terror group has shown that it is willing to go to almost any lengths to keep hold of it, using everything from suicide bombs to booby-trapped toys in its desperate fight.
ISIS has had months to prepare for the offensive -- building tunnels, constructing explosives, rigging abandoned houses to detonate and plotting counterattacks; reinforcements were reportedly brought in from Raqqa in Syria to help defend the city.
The conflict is "not a conventional war," according to Iraq's former foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari.
A drone operator from the Iraqi special forces watches his aircraft in Mosul's Karkukli neighborhood.