Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) A commander at Iraqi joint forces’ battles against Islamic State militants in eastern Mosul denied Wednesday reports that the east of the city was completely liberated.
News websites had circulated a statement by the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Forces, which spearheaded the battles against the extremist group in Mosul since October, saying the eastern side of Mosul was officially liberated, and that 3300 militants were killed since the launch of operations.
It was later clarified that the force only became in control over districts assigned to it, as explained by Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah, who leads the Joint Operations Command battles in Nineveh.
However, the government forces are still a few districts away from announcing the full recapture of that region.
A JOC spokesperson, Brigadieer General Yahia Rasoul, was quoted Tuesday as saying that only four districts remained to declare eastern Mosul as Islamic State-free.
The recapture of eastern Mosul would represent a significant impetus for forces which hope to move to the IS-dominated western region of Mosul.
Yarallah said in a statement the forces recaptured the Athariya (archaeological) zone, Tel Nerkal and al-Qadiya in the northeast.
Also in the northeast, Anadolu Agency, quoting a senior commander in the counter-terrorism troops, Fallah al-Abbassi, said 10 civilians were killed, including women and children, and 13 others were wounded when IS militants shelled districts recently recaptured by security forces.
Conflict in Mosul forced at least 178.000 people to flee to refugee camps, and the United Nations had voiced fears that battles could force at least one million out of homes.