Only six districts still held by Daesh in western Mosul: Cmdr.
A high-ranking Iraqi military figure says Daesh Takfiri terrorists are only in control of six neighborhoods in the western part of Mosul as government forces, backed by volunteer fighters from Popular Mobilization Units, are battling to expel the extremists out of the country’ second largest city.
The commander of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), Lieutenant General Talib Shaghati, said on Tuesday that military forces continue to gain ground against Daesh militants, and are steadily liberating the remaining militant-held areas in western Mosul, Arabic-language and official al-Sabaah (The Morning) daily newspaper reported.
Shaghati added that Iraqi forces and their allies have already purged the Takfiris from 32 districts out of the total 38 in addition to the strategic Mosul International Airport and Ghazlani military base.
The remarks came a day after Hossam al-Abbar, a member of the Nineveh provincial council, also said in a statement that security forces had been in control of 75 percent of the western side of Mosul.
He said battles were concentrated around the centuries-old Grand al-Nuri Mosque, and troops were preparing to storm the area with snipers, hand grenades and assault rifles.
Abbar stressed that government forces would not use artillery units and airstrikes during the forthcoming offensive in order to prevent civilian casualties.
Earlier on Tuesday, an unnamed spokesman for CTS forces said the troops were advancing in al-Thawra and al-Tanak districts of western Mosul.
The media bureau of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command also announced in a statement that armed CASC Rainbow drones of the Iraqi army had targeted and destroyed a militant position and a fuel station for Daesh terrorists in al-Ba’aj town west of Mosul.
The statement noted that the precision strikes were launched based on information from the Directorate General for Intelligence and Security.
The United Nations says nearly half a million civilians had fled fighting since the offensive to retake Mosul from Daesh terrorists started on October 17, 2016.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Monday that 493,000 people had been displaced from the city, located some 400 kilometers north of the capital, Baghdad.
As many as 500,000 civilians are still trapped in Daesh-controlled neighborhoods of western Mosul.
Iraqi army soldiers and pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi, have made sweeping gains against the Takfiri elements since launching the operation to retake Mosul.
The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.