Published: Thu, June 29, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Iraqi forces recapture 2 neighborhoods from IS in Mosul's old city

Iraqi forces recapture 2 neighborhoods from IS in Mosul's old city

An Iraqi officer says counterattacks by Islamic State militants on the western edge of Mosul have stalled Iraqi forces' push in the Old City — the last IS stronghold in the city.

On Thursday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi said the announcement of Mosul's liberation from terrorist forces might be made within days.

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.

TRT World's Soraya Lennie reports from Erbil.

"The operation is continuing to free the remaining parts of the Old City", Lt. Gen. Abdel-Wahab al-Saadi of the Counter Terrorism Service told a Reuters correspondent near the front line in the heart of the Old City. Now about one square kilometre remains under its control. The army's 16th infantry division Tuesday seized the Mashahda quarter in the northwestern corner of the Old City, and federal police took Al-Bayd and Ras al-Jadda, in the southwestern quarter, military statements said.

The army has captured two neighbourhoods northwest of the historic Grand al-Nuri Mosque, which was destroyed last week.

The military estimates up to 350 militants are dug in among civilians in wrecked houses and crumbling infrastructure.

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

They were making extensive use of booby traps, suicide bombers and sniper fire to slow the advance of Iraqi forces from the west, the north and the south. Hundreds of civilians fleeing the Old City have been killed in the past month. The Iraqi forces started attacking the western side of Mosul in February, a month after taking the side located east of the Tigris.

Saadi said Daesh holds "very little" territory inside Mosul at the present moment, adding that he hoped the operation would be concluded within days.

"Near Mosul, three strikes engaged three Daesh tactical units; destroyed 14 fighting positions, three mortar systems, three medium machine guns, three supply caches [and] a rocket-propelled grenade system", the release stated on Wednesday.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Press TV on Friday, Iraq's federal police chief voiced concerns over Daesh terrorists' use of Mosul residents as human shields.

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