Iraqi forces retake the strategic al-Tayaran district in West Mosul

Smoke rises during a battle between Islamic State fighters and Iraqi troops at an outskirts of Mosul, Iraq February 25, 2017 REUTERS.

Nineveh ( Iraqi government forces recaptured on Monday the strategic Tayaran district in western Mosul from Islamic State militants, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said.

Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah, commander of the Nineveh Operations, said the forces totally recaptured the district and raised the Iraqi flag above its buildings.

On Sunday, the Iraqi command said its forces had retaken more than a half of al-Tayaran and Josaq districts, which are close to the Mosul Airport that had been recently retaken by government troops, marking a significant victory in operations against the extremist group. The command said also it had recaptured al-Maamoun neighborhood, which is adjacent to the strategic Ghizlani military camp that was retaken by the troops days earlier.

As the forces advanced in al-Tayaran, Islamic State militants set fire to civilian-owned homes and vehicles in western Mosul districts partially retaken by Iraqi government troops, news reports said. Militants were trying to disrupt aerial bombing operations led by Iraqi and international coalition air forces, with snipers and by simultaneously targeting civilians, according to Alghad Press website.

Quoted by news reports, Major Sami al-Aridi, commander of the special forces at the Counter-Terrorism Forces, said his troops were moving towards Shuqaq al-Maamoun (complex) and al-Mansour districts, west and northwest of Mosul Airport, predicting both neighborhoods to be retaken this afternoon.

Iraqi government forces recaptured eastern Mosul late January after three months of fighting, and are carrying on with U.S.-led coalition-backed operations to retake the west since February 19th. Iraqi and coalition generals estimated the time needed to retake that area by six months.

The United Nations fears fighting in western Mosul could displace at least 250,000 civilians. The migration ministry said Sunday more than 2,300 fled western Mosul in 24 hours.

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