Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Iraqi military says it has retaken two Mosul neighbourhoods from Islamic State

Mosul was once Iraq's second-largest city Mosul was once Iraq's second-largest city
Lance Thomas | 29 June, 2017, 00:48

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.

Bernard Smith has more from the nearby city of Erbil.

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

In Syria, the ISIS-held capital of Raqqa, is virtually encircled by a US-backed, Kurdish-led coalition.

Al-Assadi today signed a statement made on June 22 by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi that "within a few days" Mosul will be declared free territory. Now about one square kilometre remains under its control.

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

The Iraqi forces in Old Mosul now battle ISIS within hand-grenade range.

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.

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

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

Also, DAESH fighters, the Arabic acronym for IS, infiltrated Tanak by mixing with displaced civilians who returned home and settled there using many residents as human shields, while regrouping and counterattacking government troops.

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

Islamic State's Baghdadi has left the fighting in Mosul to local commanders and is assumed to be hiding in the Iraqi-Syrian border area.

The group has carried out sporadic suicide bombings in parts of Mosul using sleeper cells.

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