“The ISIL terrorists are presently facing confusion due to their defeats in tough battles with the Iraqi government forces,” the Arabic-language media quoted Judat as saying on Wednesday.
He reiterated that Iraq’s intelligence data indicate that the ISIL is on the verge of full collapse as the terrorist commanders are escaping from the city.
In relevant remarks earlier on Wednesday, an Iraqi army general and residents said that the army units shut the last main exit out of the ISIL’s stronghold in Western Mosul, controlling access to the city from the Northwest.
The army’s 9th armored division is within a kilometer of Mosul’s “Syria Gate”, the Northwestern entrance of the city, a general from the unit told reporters by telephone.
“We effectively control the road, it is within our sight,” he said. Mosul residents said they had not been able to travel on the highway that begins at the “Syria Gate” since Tuesday.
The road links Mosul to Tal Afar, another ISIL stronghold 60 km (40 miles) to the West, and then to the Syrian border.
Government troops have recently pushed closer to Central Mosul, where many strategic government facilities are located. They had made remarkable gains retaking the city’s airport and a major military camp. The Eastern side of Mosul was recaptured late January after three months of fighting.
Iraqi generals say ISIL powers and capabilities were waning in Western Mosul, with the militant group’s defenses quickly collapsing to Iraqi strikes. They had predicted the Western region to be retaken within six months.