Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi army forces are engaging in ferocious battles with Islamic State (ISIS) fighters in Mosul since early Tuesday as operations continue to clear the eastern section of the city.
UK-based The New Arab website quoted military sources as saying that the forces are backed by US artillery forces and Apache helicopters which bombed areas inside the city. ISIS militants are, meanwhile, carrying out a series of suicide bombings in several areas east of Mosul to impede the advancing troops, according to the website.
Intense battles are ongoing at the districts of al-Shaimaa, al-Salam, Doumiz, Qadisiya and al-Barid, according to the army sources.
“For hours, we have been in violent battles, backed by an air and artillery cover from the international and US forces. US Apaches have intervened shortly before to handle some difficult targets,” an army officer told the website, pointing to what he described as “ a significant progress” achieved by the forces.
Also on Tuesday, the army’s Counter Terrorism Service invaded al-Aalam district in eastern Mosul.
Iraqi government forces, backed by popular militias and a US-led air cover, have been liberating villages in Mosul on an almost daily basis as part of a major operation to free the city that launched in mid October.
Military and police commanders said recently that government forces became in control of nearly 50 percent of the eastern section of Mosul. ISIS remains in control of most of the western region adjacent to the group’s strongholds in Syria, but Iraqi security commanders and militia leaders reportedly managed to cut ISIS’s supply and escape routes to and from Syria.
On Monday, Iraqi forces bombarded regions on the western side, denoting the opening of a new battle front.