Militants’ numbers dwindle in Mosul
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.”