Baghdad: A senior military commander says government forces have launched a new push to drive Daesh group terrorists from four neighbourhoods in west Mosul.
In a statement Sunday, Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Rasheed Yar Allah says Iraqi special forces are moving to the Al Eraibi and Al Rifaie neighbourhoods, while militarised federal police and regular army forces are fighting Daesh in nearby Al Ektisadieen and 17th of July neighbourhoods.
Yar Allah says the forces “have broken through the enemy fortifications” without giving more details.
The operation to retake Mosul began in October, and the eastern half of the city was retaken earlier this year. The battle for the more densely populated western half, including the Old City, has been slower. Mosul fell to Daesh nearly three years ago when the militant group blitzed into Iraq from neighbouring Syria and took nearly a third of the country under its control. Today a fraction of western Mosul is the last significant urban terrain Daesh holds in Iraq.
The UN estimates some 350,000 people remain trapped in Daesh-held parts of western Mosul. Clashes over the past week have forced more than 11,000 civilians to flee.
While Daesh defences in Mosul are “degraded” each day, the army is not able to predict how much longer the operation will take.