Iraqi forces control 97% of western Mosul

Mosul – Iraqi government forces are in control over 97 percent of territories at the western side of Mosul, a municipal official said Sunday as battles against the Islamic State near a total recapture of the city.

Hossam al-Abbar, a member of the Nineveh province council, was quoted by Russian Sputnik news agency saying that Iraqi forces had managed to liberate 97 percent of the western side of Mosul, besieging more than 450 militants in the region.

“Federal Police and Rapid Response forces are heading towards the liberation of al-Shifa, al-Zanjili and al-Sihha neighborhoods, once done with clearing this axis, they will all unite to attack the Old City from all directions,” he said in his statements.

Also on Sunday, Federal Police commander, Shaker Jawdat, said military forces were positioning at the southern outskirts of 17 Tamuz, the first neighborhood occupied by IS in 2014 which troops recaptured on Saturday, preparing to invade the Old City.

Iraqi troops recaptured eastern Mosul in January after three months of fighting, and the Iraqi security command said earlier this week it controls 89.5 percent of the western side of the city, three months after a second phase of the campaign launched to recapture that region.

The densely populated and structured Old City is the place where IS supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed the establishment of the group’s rule in Iraq and Syria.

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