Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi government forces advanced Sunday in the last few meters held by Islamic State militants in western Mosul as Iraqis prepare to celebrate the group’s three-year-old occupation of the city.
Shafaaq News website quoted security sources saying the troops took over 50 percent of Qleyat and Shahwan regions, the last remaining areas under IS control near the western bank of the Tigris River which bisects Mosul. The remarks were supported by a map published by the Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell, marking the two areas.
The WMC said earlier that 30 IS members were killed while fleeing western Mosul to its liberated eastern side via the Tigris River.
On Saturday, troops killed 35 militants and arrested six others on the same route.
Commanders from the Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition commanders said less than 250 meters remained under Islamic State’s control in western Mosul. Military media reported earlier on Saturday that police and army troops converged at Tigris’s western bank.
The Iraqi Joint Operations Command’s spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Yahia Rasoul, was quoted Saturday saying forces took control over the Old City, the birthplace of Islamic State’s self-styled “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria which was declared in 2014.
Iraqi media reports said Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was expected to make an official statement sooner declaring the end of Mosul operations and victory over IS.
Iraqi government forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, have been fighting IS out of Mosul since mid October. Late June, troops took over the Old City’s Nuri al-Kabir Mosque where IS first declared the establishment of its rule in 2014 in a sermon delivered by the supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.