Iraqi forces capture village, major water station near western Mosul’s Tigris bank

Iraqi security forces advance towards the western side of Mosul, Iraq February 19, 2017. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

Nineveh ( Iraqi forces on Saturday became in control over a major water station and a village near the western bank of the Tigris River as fights rage on against Islamic State in the western side of Mosul.

Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah, commander of the Joint Operations Command’s battles in Nineveh, said the army’s 16th division liberated the Khawaja Khalil village as well as the “grand water project” which feeds the eastern region which the government recaptured in January.

The Iraqi government launched a major offensive in February to retake western Mosul from Islamic State militants. The government forces recaptured the eastern side of the city late January after three months of fighting.

In the western region, Iraqi forces have made remarkable gains, taking over a government complex last week that hosts the governor’s office, a main central bank branch, a police department, a courthouse and other public facilities. The forces had earlier retaken the city’s airport and biggest military camp. Troops moved earlier on Saturday towards the Old City, a major target in the combat plan.

The army’s Counter-Terrorism Service said last week government forces had become in control over 60 percent of the western side. Generals from the Iraqi side and the allied U.S.-led coalition had estimated six months needed to fully liberate the city which fell to the extremist group in 2014.

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