Iraqis fight house to house for costly victory in Mosul

Mosul was once Iraq's second-largest city
Mosul was once Iraq's second-largest city
Author

29 June, 2017

Iraqi forces launched an operation to retake Mosul's Old City just over a week ago, more than eight months after the fight to retake Iraq's second-largest city officially began.

Iraqi forces, battling up to 350 militants dug in among civilians in the Old City, said the federal police had dislodged ISIS insurgents from the Ziwani mosque and were only a few days away from ousting militants completely from the Old City.

"The victory announcement will come in a very short time", Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on his website Monday evening.

That would bring to an end half of the Islamic State self-declared caliphate in 2014, although Islamic State continues to hold positions in Syria.

The US-led coalition of 69 members is conducting airstrikes, ground-based and rocket-propelled artillery fire against the Daesh in Syria and Iraq.

TRT World's Soraya Lennie reports from Erbil.

The attacks forced Iraqi forces and the USA -led coalition to pull some assets away from the Old City to again clear the Yarmouk and Tanak neighborhoods, which were declared liberated of IS in May.

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The territory that the Islamic State group still holds in Mosul has been reduced to an area that now amounts to about 2 square kilometers (0.8 square miles) in the ancient Old City district.

The June 14 assault was carried out by more than 100 IS militants and killed 11 Iraqi policemen and four civilians in clashes that lasted hours. ISIS uses vehicle bombs as well as snipers to hamper the advances of the Iraqi army.

Those residents who have escaped say numerous civilians trapped behind Islamic State lines - put at 50,000 by the Iraqi military - have little food, water or medicines.

A United States-led worldwide coalition is providing air and ground support in the eight- month-old offensive.

Front lines were quiet in the Old City on Tuesday as Iraqi special forces scouted the terrain.

A destroyed al-Hadba minaret at Grand al-Nuri Mosque (L) is seen in Mosul, Iraq June 27, 2017. The Iraqi forces started attacking the western side of Mosul in February, a month after taking the side located east of the Tigris. It has lost its fighting spirit and its balance. The extremist group is using the civilians as human shields.


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