Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi joint forces completed on Monday the recapture of al-Karama district in eastern Mosul as operations continue to clear Iraq’s second largest city from Islamic State militants.
Lieutenant General Abdul-Amir Yarallah, commander of the joint operation in Nineveh, said Monday that the forces from the Iraqi army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service had managed to completely liberate the district from IS militants and raised the Iraqi flag there.
The development comes as the forces, backed by a US-led aerial cover, entered Thursday a second phase of operations that launched in October to eliminate the extremist group.
Iraqi commanders said Sunday they recaptured 60 percent of the city’s eastern section. IS still maintains hideouts in the west close to its strongholds in Syria, but Iraqi generals and allied militia leaders say the group has become isolated from Syria and Iraq.
Security officials estimate the number of remaining IS combatants by 6000. But those are fighting against at least 100.000 government and militia soldiers.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Saturday the battle for Mosul was entering a “decisive” stage, and predicted in December that the operations could realize final victory within two months.
Liberating Mosul, IS last outstanding stronghold in Iraq, could deal a final fatal blow to group’s influence in the country.