Iraq’s special forces control 19 of the city’s neighborhoods
Iraqi special forces fighting Islamic State militants on the eastern side of Mosul have retaken 19 neighborhoods from the extremist group since the battle for the city began last month, a senior Iraqi commander said on Wednesday.
Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil of the special forces said his men were now about 2.5 miles from the Tigris river, which slices the city in half. He said the 19 neighborhoods constituted less than 30 percent of the part of the city east of the Tigris.
The government last month launched a massive campaign to retake Mosul from IS. The offensive was launched on multiple fronts, but most of the fighting to date has been concentrated in the city’s eastern sector. The presence inside the city of an estimated 1 million residents has slowed down the campaign’s progress, with the Iraqis and their allies in a U.S.-led coalition avoiding the use of overwhelming power to protect civilians.