Iraqi Counter Terrorism Services (CTS) soldier is seen during a battle between CTS and Daesh militants in western Mosul, Iraq, April 25, 2017. ( Reuters)
Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Islamic State militants are controlling less than ten square kilometers of land in western Mosul, a spokesperson of the U.S.-led coalition backing the campaign against the group said Thursday.
“Remaining #ISIS in W. #Mosul #Iraq hold less than 10 sq. km. This will arguably be some of the toughest fighting the #ISF will face,” Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, Spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), said on twitter, referring to Iraqi Security Forces sweeping through the last three districts around the Old City area which are still in IS grip.
Iraqi government troops regained control over eastern Mosul in January after three months of fighting. Operations for the western side of the city launched in mid February, and Iraqi generals say a few hundreds of IS fighters remain in the Old City as a last refuge.
The densely populated and narrowly structured Old City was the place where IS supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the establishment of the group’s rule in Iraq in 2014.
Iraqi forces began late April to advance towards the enclave from the northwest, having besieged it from the south for weeks to no avail.
At least 200.000 civilians are believed to remain in IS captivity in that area.