Iraqi forces advance on ISIS-held neighborhoods in western Mosul

Author

29 May, 2017

Its capital, Baghdad, and a northern city, Mosul.

New security regulations also include ban on movement of motorcyclists in the city after dawn, as many ISIS bombers in the past have used motorcycles to launch attacks on targets in liberated districts.

Smoke billows as Iraqi forces attack Mosul airport during an offensive to retake the western side of the city from Daesh extremists. Despite this, they continued their campaign of suicide auto bombings and snipers placed on rooftops to making the fighting hard in the neighborhoods they control, already a challenge because of the narrow streets and dense civilian population.

Mosul had been the last major IS stronghold in Iraq, but recent offenses have cornered the jihadists into select pockets of the old city.

The forces are advancing in two directions in the open land in order to free all IS-seized villages and take control of IS supply routes around Baaj in order to isolate it and liberate the town later. "Within minutes" of the fighter leaving the strike hit, Samir said.The explosion collapsed the building and killed 101 people inside the structure and another four in a neighboring building.

Thousands of Iraqi security forces, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni Arab tribesmen and Shia militiamen, assisted by US-led coalition warplanes and military advisers, are involved in the offensive.

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"We are noticing that the closer we get to the Old City, the greater the resistance", he added, looking over the roughly 8 square kilometers (3 square miles) of Mosul territory still in IS hands on a satellite mapping app.

While U.S. -backed forces have fought inside Mosul during the operation to retake it from ISIS, Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces have largely operated in the deserts to the west cutting supply lines and attempting to begin securing Iraq's border with Syria.

The Iraqi air force dropped leaflets on Friday urging residents to flee.

"Army forces attacked Al-Shifaa neighbourhood and the Republican Hospital, federal police forces Al-Zinjili neighbourhood, and Counter-Terrorism forces attacked Al-Saha al-Oula neighbourhood", the Joint Operations Command said in a statement, speaking about the locations on the west bank of the River Tigris. Several blocks had been cleared - at the cost of at least one dead and three wounded - but his men were still two kilometres from the Old City where an unknown number of ISIS fighters hid among an estimated 165,000.

Iraqi military commanders had expressed hope of taking control of the Old City's Grand al-Nuri mosque, from which Baghdadi declared the caliphate, before the fasting month of Ramadan, which starts on Saturday or Sunday in Iraq.


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