Press TV – Iraqi government forces have pushed deeper into the last pocket of Mosul controlled by Daesh Takfiri terrorists as the battle for the country’s second largest city approaches its end.
Commander of Nineveh Liberation Operation Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah stated on Monday that Iraqi army forces had recaptured al-Khatouniyah and al-Tawaleb neighborhoods in the Old City as Daesh terrorists have now been mostly dislodged from western half of Mosul, and are battling to hold on to the last few streets under their control, Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network reported.
Earlier in the day, Commander of Federal Police Forces Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat announced in a statement that security forces had liberated Bab al-Saray area, and raised Iraqi flags above several buildings there.
He said government forces had also taken over Zultawabeq garage and Khozam Mosque in addition to a terminal in Mosul’s Old City.
Iraqi troops are now advancing towards Khalid ibn al-Walid and al-Nujaifi areas, Jawdat added.
Iraq’s Joint Operations Command (JOC) on Monday said that members of the federal police were still fighting Daesh terrorists in the Old City of Mosul, and had not accomplished all of their objectives.
“Federal police forces continue to fight fierce battles… on the southern front and are advancing toward their targets,” the JOC stated.
Meanwhile, fighters from the elite Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) in the Old City have ordered fleeing civilians to remove some articles of clothing in the wake of two bomb attacks, one by a 14-year-old girl and another by a 12-year-old, which killed three soldiers.
Men are told to take off their shirts, while women have to remove veils covering their faces and hair, and flowing abaya robes before approaching CTS forces.
The state-run al-Iraqiya television network reported on Monday that thousands of people had fled the densely-populated Old City over the past 24 hours.
But thousands more are believed trapped in the area with little food, water or medicine, and are effectively being used as human shields by Daesh terrorists.
The recapture of Mosul, located some 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of the capital Baghdad, would mark the effective end of Daesh in Iraq.
Government authorities are planning a week of jubilation across the country and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is expected to visit Mosul to formally declare victory.
Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by their Arabic name, Hashd al-Sha’abi, have made sweeping gains against Daesh since launching the Mosul operation on October 17, 2016.
The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.
An estimated 862,000 people have been displaced from Mosul ever since the battle to retake the city began nine months ago. A total of 195,000 civilians have also returned, mainly to the liberated areas of eastern Mosul.