Thursday, 22 June, 2017

Almost 100000 Iraqis flee battle for west Mosul

Iraqi general: 30% of west Mosul seized from ISIL The Canadian medics embedded in the fight against ISIS
Howard Terry | 18 March, 2017, 01:08

Displaced Iraqi people who fled from homes during a battle between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants, receive bread at the Hammam al-Alil camp, south of Mosul on Monday.

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Iraqi troops have effectively sealed off Mosul from the rest of the territory IS controls in Iraq and Syria.

As fighting intensified on Tuesday after the previous day's heavy rains, civilians streamed out of western neighborhoods recaptured by the government, cold and hungry but relieved to be free of the militants' grip.

IS snipers were slowing the advance of special forces units units on a bridge linking western and eastern Mosul but the elite forces were still inching forward, officers were quoted as saying.

Air strikes targeting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) fighters in the Iraqi city of Mosul are frequently killing civilians, a number of residents who lost loved ones have been telling RT recently. The operation to retake Mosul was launched in October more than two years after the extremists took control of Iraq's second largest city.

"It was street-by-street - now it's house-by-house", a member of the Iraqi Security Forces told Reuters. western Mosul has much narrower streets than the east, rendering some of the Iraqi's armored humvee's useless.

Capturing the bridge, which links Mosul's Old City with the eastern side, would give Iraqis control of three of the five bridges that span the Tigris in Mosul.

"This will have unsafe repercussions on the post-Mosul phase.there will be anger by residents and Daesh will benefit from the large human losses", he added, using an Arabic acronym for Daesh.

The Old City section of Mosul is seen as an important target by Iraqi officials due to its dense population and small alleys, and retaking it will have a decisive impact on anti-Daesh operations in Mosul's western region.

"Daesh wanted us to move to their areas but we escaped when the army arrived", he said.

While the two areas had been "entirely liberated" by Iraqi forces, Abu Raghif said, they still had to be cleared of a system of tunnels and bunkers used by Daesh fighters.

"(IS) is a common foe that we need to face", Hishammuddin told reporters after meeting Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Parliament.

As many as 600,000 civilians are thought to still be in the Old City along with the militants.

At the outset of the Mosul campaign, Khanjar financed the 3,000 strong Turkish-trained force known as the Nineveh Guards Force that has now been integrated in state-run forces.

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