Iraqi forces gain control of two more neighborhoods in western Mosul

Press TV- Iraqi government forces have regained control of two neighborhoods in the western part of Mosul in a new phase of joint operations with allied fighters from Popular Mobilization Units to push Daesh Takfiri terrorists out of their last urban stronghold in the country.

Major General Haider al-Maturi of the Federal Police Commandos Division told The Associated Press that his troops marched into the Tayaran neighborhood of Mosul, located some 400 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad, on Sunday morning.

Maturi added that the neighborhood “is now under their full control,” noting that Daesh militants made use of at least 10 car bombs to stop Iraqi forces making quick advances on multiple fronts.

Nine of the explosive-laden cars were blown up before reaching their targets, while the last one left two police officers dead and five others wounded, the Iraqi commander said, adding that his forces had captured two militants – an Iraqi national and a foreigner speaking Russian.

The development came shortly after the commander of Nineveh Liberation Operation, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah, announced that members of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) had liberated Ma’moun neighborhood in western Mosul.

Yarallah said government forces raised the Iraqi flag over several buildings in the area.

Meanwhile, Iraqi government forces continue to punch through the defenses of Daesh extremists stationed in western Mosul, trying to build a floating bridge across the Tigris River to establish an important supply route into the eastern part of Mosul.

“We had an important operation this morning to move towards the bridge,” Colonel Falah al-Wabdan of the rapid response forces told AFP in the Hawi al-Jawsaq area on the western outskirts of Mosul.

“We have moved past a large berm constructed by Daesh with tunnels underneath,” he said, adding that there are mines strewn around the area and members of the rapid response forces had killed 44 Takfiris on Sunday alone.

Wabdan further noted that securing the area near the fourth bridge on the Tigris River would allow engineering units to extend a ribbon bridge to the other quarter of Mosul, and heap further pressure on Daesh militants.

“It is very important because if we take it, engineering units… will be able to throw a bridge across from the left bank so we can move supplies and ammunition from the battle field,” he said.

Thousands of civilians flee west Mosul battles

Furthermore, thousands of civilians are fleeing from western Mosul as government troops make advances in the second phase of the battle to retake the strategic city from Daesh.

“Engineering units of the Counter-Terrorism Service have opened safe passages for fleeing civilians and the military troops; and we were able to absorb massive population displacements. We received yesterday around 1,150 displaced persons, while a day earlier the number of displaced people was 2,500. Today, we expect the number to reach up 3,000 displaced persons, and the number is on the rise as Iraqi forces push deeper into Ma’moun and other districts,” Brigadier General Salman Hashim Hussein of the Counter-Terrorism Service said.

He added, “Most of the fleeing civilians who arrived at the makeshift place report intense battles with Daesh terrorists; and their sufferings to escape to save own lives. We received civilians, who suffered various wounds and bruises and we gave them first aid and then sent them to clinic for further treatment.”

International aid organizations have warned against the mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of civilians from western Mosul.

Makeshift camps are being built up in nine cities near Mosul, and tents are being pitched in existing camps to accommodate up to 400,000 internally displaced people.

An Iraqi refugee, who fled from Mosul, carries aid supplies while walking at a camp in al-Hol, located some 14 kilometers from the Iraqi border in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah on February 25, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

“The greatest concern is the fact that we might have a massive surge of civilians being displaced,” Hala Jaber, a spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said lately.

The IOM press officer added, “We are preparing to expand the camps and build up emergency sites to be able to take the numbers.”