Mil­i­tants’ num­bers dwin­dle in Mo­sul

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

MO­SUL, Iraq — About 300 Is­lamic State fight­ers re­main in the small patch of ter­ri­tory still con­trolled by the group in Mo­sul’s Old City, a se­nior Iraqi com­man­der said Wed­nes­day.

Lt. Gen. Sami al-Aridi of Iraq’s spe­cial forces said the mil­i­tants’ hold on Mo­sul has shrunk to a 600-square­yard area. A large num­ber of civil­ians are said to be trapped in the en­clave, with around 1,500 flee­ing with ev­ery 100-yard ad­vance by Iraqi forces.

Iraqi forces moved to be­siege the Old City be­fore start­ing their at­tack, a strat­egy in­tended to pre­vent Is­lamic State fight­ers from flee­ing to neigh­bor­ing Syria. But al-Aridi said hun­dreds of mil­i­tants still man­aged to es­cape from the Old City.

“They just shave their beards and walk out,” al-Aridi said. “Just yes­ter­day, we cap­tured two among a group of women and chil­dren.”

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