Iraqi forces advance further in eastern Mosul, bring down landmark IS flag
Iraqi government forces made further advances in eastern Mosul on Tuesday, recapturing one more district and preparing to invade another as operations continue to drive off Islamic State militants.
A security source was quoted by Sahfaaq news website as saying that the forces recaptured al-Dhubbat district, in the northeast, and were preparing to invade the nearby al-Maliya neighborhood.
Also in the north, the website added that government troops brought down IS’s biggest flag, a five-meter tall post erected at a “festivities arena”. Troops are also proceeding towards a so-called Al-Majmoua al-Thaqafiya area.
Meanwhile, Iranian news agency Tasnim said forces liberated Masjid al-Saegh area, and were engaging in violent encounters with IS militants on their way to al-Andalus district.
Federal Police commander, Raed Shaker Jawdat, said his forces moved through Sumer neighborhood in the southeast and opened safe pathways to evacuate civilians from the area. He said IS militants were “indiscriminately shelling residential areas to take revenge from the people.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service said they took over al-Sukkar district.
Iraqi forces, backed by US-led fighter jets, popular militias and Kurdish troops, have been carrying out a major campaign since mid October to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and the Islamic State’s last urban stronghold in Iraq.
Iraqi generals said recently they became in control over more than 70 percent of the eastern section of the city and are hoping to retake it entirely so as to move onwards to fight for IS’s western hideouts. The current operations are the second phase of the campaign that began on December 29th after weeks of recess.
The Pentagon said through a spokesperson on Monday that the extremist group’s days in Mosul are “numbered”, and that its capabilities were waning.
The conflict has forced at least 169.000 civilians to flee the city to refugee camps.