ِIraqi army says new front opened in western Mosul eyeing 4 districts

Federal police members carry their weapons as they attempt to break into the Old City during a battle against Islamic State militants, in Mosul, Iraq March 19, 2017. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Mosul ( Iraqi government forces are opening new front in their battles against Islamic State militants in western Mosul, targeting the recapture of four last districts, according to an Iraqi army officer.

Asharq al-Awsat quoted an army colonel saying the new front opens from the recaptured region of Badush, with the aim of charging at the districts of 17 Tamuz (July 17th), Harmat, Mesherfa and Hawi al-Kanisa in order to accelerate the liberation of the city.

Badush region, northwest of Mosul (Google Maps)

Iraqi army forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, recaptured eastern Mosul from Islamic State members in January after three months of fighting. A complementary offensive launched in February to retake the western region.

Iraqi generals say they control 70 percent of the western side of Mosul, and that the total of territory held by IS in Iraq is less than seven percent.

The government troops are still struggling to purge the Old City, home of the Grand Nuri Mosque where Islamic State supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared the establishment of the group in 2014.

Coalition commanders estimate the number of remaining IS fighters in Mosul by less than 1000. While those are facing at least 100.000 government and paramilitary soldiers, it is their deployment within civilian communities that has delayed the elimination of the group.

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