Iraqi forces move to surround Mosul's Old City, held by IS

Iraqi forces move to surround Mosul's Old City, held by IS

Iraqi forces move to surround Mosul's Old City, held by IS

ERBIL, Iraq Iraq's Shi'ite paramilitaries launched an offensive on Friday to drive Islamic State from a desert region near the border with Syria as security forces fought the militants in the city of Mosul.Spokesman Karim al-Nouri said the target of the operation was the Qairawan and Baaj areas about 100 km west of Mosul, where USA -backed Iraqi forces are advancing in their campaign to rout the militants from city.

Civilians fleeing Mosul are in dire peril and conditions in the beleaguered northern Iraqi city are "desperate and worsening" with heavy bombing, fierce fighting and no food, water or fuel, the United Nations refugee agency warned on Friday. "I say that Daesh [Isis] will be finished in days, God willing", General Ghanimi told BBC Arabic.

The announcement came as a Shia-led militia force launched a fresh operation to retake...

"I say that the rest of Mosul will be liberated before the holy month of Ramadan". Thanks to the operations begun on February 19th, the Army units, the Rapid Response Force of the Interior Ministry, the Counter-Terrorism Service and the Federal Police established a new front last week in the northwest of the Old City, the last headquarters of IS.

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ISIS captured Mosul, then Iraq's second-largest city with some two million people, in June 2014 as Iraqi forces by the thousands retreated in the face of fewer ISIS militants. Today a fraction of western Mosul is the last significant urban terrain IS holds in Iraq.

IRAQI troops broke through Isis lines in west Mosul yesterday, taking several districts from the death cult.

A civil activist from Mosul, Abdulkarim al-Obeidi, put the number of IS fighters left in west Mosul at around 600, and they are resorting to using the population as human shields as part of their defence strategy.

The Iraqi army says it is in the final stages of its campaign to rout the Islamist militants from their last major urban redoubt in Iraq, seven months after the USA -backed operation to recapture the city began. He added that the Hashd "is tasked with one of the widest areas, ranging from Qayyara in the west, Tal Afar in the north to the Mosul outskirts in the east and some areas on the Syrian-Iraqi border to the west".

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