Iraqi forces retake two key areas in west Mosul

Pauline Gross
March 21, 2017

The commandos of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) fought heavy clashes against the Daesh militants during the day and freed the neighbourhood of Nablus in west of the old city centre and raised the Iraqi flags over some of its buildings, Abdul-Amir Yarallah from the Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a statement, Xinhua reported.

"People fleeing are telling us that it's very hard to enter or leave the Old City", the UN's humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Lise Grande, said in a statement on Sunday.

Mosul's Great Mosque of al-Nuri is where Islamic State leader Baghdadi is believed to have delivered a sermon in which he declared an Islamic State caliphate.

The forces have recaptured several neighbourhoods from IS since starting the push for west Mosul last month, but the battle for the Old City, with its warrens of alleyways, was always expected to be tough.

Brig. Gen. Abbas al-Juburi, a commander with the Iraqi Rapid Response Division, said the Islamic State is using civilians as human shields as they also use suicide bombers to hold off the advance of Iraqi forces.

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The residents of al-Akidat neighborhood in west Mosul said that IS burned their cars, buses and trucks because they did not support them.

"It's frightful. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are trapped and they are in awful danger". In January, its eastern half was declared "fully liberated".

Iraqi forces, backed by USA air strikes, launched an operation to retake west Mosul in February.

The Interior Ministry official said the nine men were seized and killed in the early hours of Monday in the Bab Jadid district.

Other reports by GizPress

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