Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Foreign fighters fighting for the Islamic State in Mosul’s Old City include Uzbek, Uighur and members from French-speaking countries, according to an Iraqi army officer.
Lit. Col. Abdul-Salam al-Jubouri told Anadolu Agency that the most outstanding combat groups fighting for the Islamic State in the strategic area include are most notably “the Uzbek battalion”, the “Uighur battalion” and the “Tarek ibn Ziyad battalion”, the latter comprising French-speaking members.
Those are fighting besides tens of local Iraqi fighters, according to al-Jubouri. He added that those foreign fighters fight ferociously due to the siege imposed on them by government forces.
Iraqi government forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, took over eastern Mosul in January after three months of battles. Another offensive launched in mid February to retake the western side of the city.
The U.S. State Department said last week Iraqi troops were in control over 4000 kilometers of the city.
Coalition officials had estimated the number of remaining IS militants in Mosul by less than 1000. The group has lost dozens of its foreign and local leaders since the start of western Mosul operations.
The conflict in Mosul has so far displaced more than half a million civilians, according to the United Nations and the Iraqi government.