Iraqi forces take over western Mosul’s Uraybi district, one of IS last havens

File photo: A member of Iraqi Rapid response forces takes position during clashes with Islamic State fighters in north west of Mosul, Iraq, May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Mosul ( Iraqi government forces on Monday took over one of a handful of districts remaining under Islamic State control in western Mosul as operations approach a total takeover of Iraq’s second largest city.

Commander of the Nineveh Operations, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah, said the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service forces took over the Uraybi district, one of a few districts invaded as Iraqi forces opened a new front of combat earlier this month to charge at the IS-held Old City, the most coveted target for the campaign in western Mosul.

al-Uraybi district, western Mosul (google maps).

Iraqi forces recaptured eastern Mosul in January after three months of fighting, and launched another offensive in February to retake the western side of the city. Iraqi commanders say they control more than 90 percent of the western region, and that less than 1000 fighters were remaining there. They predict to take over the entire region before the end of this month.

Earlier on Monday, Brig. Gen. Yahia Rasoul, spokesperson of the Joint Operations Command, said Iraqi forces invaded the northern section of 17 Tamuz, the first district Islamic State captured in the city in 2014. He added that only a few number of militants are remaining in the city, suffering scarcity of food and combat supplies.

Meanwhile, Federal Police chief Shaker Jawdat was quoted by al-Arabiya news channel saying his forces killed 173 Islamic State members while invading the Uraybi and Refaie districts, and also invaded Ektesadiyeen, all neighborhoods leading to the Old City where Islamic State first declared the establishment of its self-styled “caliphate” in 2014.

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