Iraq Forces Advance in Mosul

An Iraqi soldier rides an armored vehicle in Mosul.
An Iraqi soldier rides an armored vehicle in Mosul.

Iraqi forces on Sunday retook two areas from the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group in Mosul, sealing their control of the east bank three months into an offensive to reclaim the city.

They recaptured “Al-Milayeen neighborhood and Al-Binaa al-Jahiz area and raised the Iraqi flag over the buildings”, the military said in a statement, AFP reported.

“These are the last neighborhoods of the center of the city (on) the left bank,” the statement said, referring to eastern Mosul.

It also said that federal forces had retaken control of the road linking Mosul, Iraq’s second city, to Dohuk, a provincial capital in the west of the autonomous region of Kurdistan.

The latest progress effectively seals the Iraqi forces’ control over the east bank, with only the neighborhood of Rashidiyah, on Mosul’s northern edge, left to retake.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and top commanders in the Counter-Terrorism Service, which has spearheaded operations inside Mosul, had already declared the city’s east “liberated” on Wednesday.

The Joint Operations Command coordinating the battle against IS in Iraq had said then that a few more days would be needed to clear the last pockets of holdout militants.

Iraq’s top brass and its foreign allies were expected to confer in the coming days on the strategy to adopt to conquer the west bank of Mosul, which is still under full IS control.

A huge offensive, Iraq’s largest military operation in years, was launched on October 17 to retake Mosul, the last major stronghold IS had in the Iraqi part of its self-proclaimed and now crumbling “caliphate”.

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