Mosul (IraqiNews.com) The Iraqi Joint Operations Command said Thursday its forces had recaptured 60% of the western flank of Mosul from Islamic State militants as operations approach a third month to retake that region.
JOC’s spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Yahia Rasoul, said in a press statement that only 40 percent of districts in western Mosul await liberation. He again reiterated the difficulty of battles targeting the IS-held Old City.
“Troops are advancing accurately and cautiously in Old Mosul due to its geographical nature and its dense population. Our main goal is to liberate human before territory,” he stated.
“The narrowness of alleyways in Old Mosul prevents the use of armored vehicles, hence the on-foot advances. Snipers are being used to locate terrorists and keep them away from civilians,” according to Rasoul.
Iraqi government forces recaptured eastern Mosul in January, and started anew offensive in February to retake the west. The Old City’s structure and the existence of civilians have posed serious challenges to Iraqi forces and the allied U.S.-led coalition.
Earlier on Thursday, Federal Police forces said they killed 13 militants near the Old City, moving closer to the Nuri al-Kabir Mosque.
Sources at the Counter-Terrorism Service also said troops recaptured most of al-Tenek and Abaar districts.