Mo­sul bat­tle to end in days as troops ad­vance in Old City: Iraqi Gen.

Tehran Times - - WORLD IN FOCUS -

An Iraqi mil­i­tary gen­eral says the mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion to re­gain com­plete con­trol over Mo­sul and purge the coun­try’s sec­ond largest city of ISIL (Daesh) ter­ror­ists will come to an end within the next few days as gov­ern­ment troops are comb­ing the last ar­eas still held by the ex­trem­ists.

“Only a small part re­mains in the city, specif­i­cally the Old City,” Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Ab­dul Ghani al-As­sadi, com­man­der of the Counter-Ter­ror­ism Ser­vice (CTS), said.

He added, “From a mil­i­tary per­spec­tive, Daesh is fin­ished. It has lost its fight­ing spirit and its bal­ance. We are mak­ing calls to them to sur­ren­der or die.”

As­sadi fur­ther noted that Iraqi army forces thwarted Daesh mil­i­tants’ of­fen­sive to re­turn to neigh­bor­hoods out­side the Old City late Sun­day, stress­ing that Mo­sul will be lib­er­ated from the grip of Tak­firi ter­ror­ists “in very few days, God will­ing.”

Com­man­der of Nin­eveh Lib­er­a­tion Op­er­a­tion Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Ab­dul Amir Yar­al­lah also said forces with the CTS had cap­tured al-Farouq neigh­bor­hood in western Mo­sul, and raised the na­tional Iraqi flag over sev­eral build­ings in the area.

Mean­while, Iraqi forces are search­ing lib­er­ated neigh­bor­hoods of western Mo­sul in the wake of a sur­prise Daesh at­tack in the Tanak and Yar­mouk neigh­bor­hoods of west Mo­sul, which claimed the lives of sev­eral civil­ians.

“The group came with the dis­placed peo­ple and set­tled in the Tanak dis­trict. They re­grouped and launched coun­ter­at­tacks,” Staff Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Ab­dul­wa­hab al-Saadi of the CTS stated.

“Yar­mouk is be­ing searched house to house,” Saadi said, adding that two groups of Daesh ex­trem­ists are still be­lieved to be hid­ing in the area.

A CTS medic, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity, said the at­tack had caused sev­eral vic­tims but he did not pro­vide an ex­act fig­ure.

The medic noted that be­tween 15 and 20 Daesh ex­trem­ists were killed in skir­mishes with Iraqi army sol­diers.

Iraqi army sol­diers and vol­un­teer fight­ers from the Pop­u­lar Mo­bi­liza­tion Units, com­monly known by their Ara­bic name, Hashd al-Sha’abi, have made sweep­ing gains against Daesh since launch­ing the Mo­sul op­er­a­tion on Oc­to­ber 17, 2016.

The Iraqi forces took con­trol of eastern Mo­sul in Jan­uary after 100 days of fight­ing, and launched the bat­tle in the west on Fe­bru­ary 19.

An es­ti­mated 862,000 peo­ple have been dis­placed from Mo­sul ever since the bat­tle to re­take the city be­gan nine months ago. A to­tal of 195,000 civil­ians have also re­turned, mainly to the lib­er­ated ar­eas of eastern Mo­sul.

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