Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi government forces now control 90 percent of territory in western Mosul as operations entered a fifth month to retake Iraq’s second largest city from Islamic State militants, according to a top commander.
Maj. Gen. Najm al-Jubouri, head of the Joint Operations Command’s Mosul operations, said in statements on Wednesday that his troops have become in control over 90 percent of the “western axis”, and continue to advance in central Mosul.
Troops are currently preparing to retake “the remaining regions where Daesh (Islamic State) is positioned” in Tamuz(July), Refaie, Mesherfa and Hamodun districts.
Iraqi government forces, backed by paramilitary troops and a U.S.-led coalition, recaptured eastern Mosul from IS in January after three months of fighting, and launched another offensive mid February to retake the western region.
Dozens of Islamic State senior leaders died in airstrikes and ground offensives over the past few days.
Troops have been struggling to fully retake central Mosul’s Old City, a densely-populated and structured area which generals view as vital for victory over IS.
Iraqi and coalition generals, though admitting the difficulty of the battle for the western region, said IS powers were waning, and that its members had no choice but to fight to death.
The conflict in Mosul has displaced at least 430.000 since operations launched in October, with more than 200.000 having fled the western region alone.