Iraqi special forces made further advances against Daesh terrorist organization in Mosul on Monday, pushing terrorists out of another district a day after driving them back to the eastern bank of the Tigris river, a spokesman said.
The elite counter-terrorism service (CTS) had taken full control of the Baladiyat district and encircled neighbouring Sukkar, Sabah al-Numan said.
The advance also consolidated Iraqi forces' control of several districts close to the ruins of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh, east of the river.
A U.S.-backed offensive to drive Daesh out of Mosul, its last major Iraqi stronghold, has gained momentum since the beginning of the year.
CTS forces reached the east bank of the Tigris on Sunday, an advance which will eventually enable them to begin assaults on the city's west, all of which Daesh still holds.
Recapture of Mosul after more than two years of Daesh rule would probably spell the end of its self-declared caliphate, which spans areas of Iraq and Syria.
16 civilians killed in Daesh attacks in Iraq's Mosul
A total of 16 civilians were killed Sunday when Daesh terrorists carried out attacks in the Iraq city of Mosul, according to the country's military sources.A howitzer attack carried out by the terrorists in a northeastern neighborhood of the province left 11 people dead. Separately, at least five people, including three children, were killed in another howitzer attack at a civilian building east of the city.In mid-October, the Iraqi army -- backed by U.S.-led coalition warplanes and local allies on the ground -- launched a major offensive to retake Mosul, Daesh's last major stronghold in northern Iraq.Officials in Baghdad have vowed to retake the city, which fell to Daesh in mid-2014, by year's end.
'Coalition warplanes kill 27 civilians' in Iraq's Mosul
Coalition warplanes killed 27 civilians in airstrikes in Iraq's Mosul city on Saturday, an Iraqi doctor said.Dr. Ahmed Raid al-Hamadani, an official with Mosul operations' mobile hospitals unit, told Anadolu Agency: “As far as we have learnt from eyewitnesses, a civilian convey of 10 vehicles was targeted by coalition forces in eastern part of Mosul, where Daesh has no connection.”Al-Hamadani said at least 15 people were killed in the attack.In a separate operation, coalition planes also hit Ibn al-Haysum, a civilian residential neighborhood in southeastern Mosul, killing 12 civilians, including women and children, he added.The coalition operation command did not make any official statement regarding the allegations.The Iraqi military, backed by U.S.-led coalition warplanes and local allies on the ground, is currently engaged in a major offensive aimed at ousting Daesh from Mosul, which the group overran in 2014.Since the operation began last October, Iraqi forces have reportedly recaptured more than a quarter of Mosul, once considered Iraq's second largest city in terms of population.Despite initial expectations that the city would be retaken by year's end, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said in Dec. 2016 that at least three more months would be required to completely remove Daesh from Iraq.
Entering Mosul from north, Iraqi army faces gruelling urban combat
In the morning, spirits were high among Iraqi troops battling Daesh for control of Mosul as they advanced on the northern edge of the city, helped by a salvo of rockets fired by the U.S.-led coalition.But as Friday wore on, the mood grew tense on the rooftop behind the frontline where Iraqi commanders and U.S. advisers were coordinating the fighting, as they came up against the challenges of combat in an urban environment and the terrorists detonated a car bomb."It's that time of day," said an American adviser as his Iraqi counterparts rushed to make contact with their men on the ground via walkie-talkie following the blast.Vastly outnumbered and overpowered, Daesh terrorists have adopted the strategy of waiting for Iraqi forces to reach their target before launching a counterattack when their enemy is worn out after a day's fighting.The view from the rooftop several kilometers from the battle zone provided evidence of that pattern, and allowed a glimpse into the relationship between Iraqi commanders and their American partners.Iraqi forces began their assault on Mosul's Hadba apartment complex early on Friday, breaching the city's northern limits for the first time since the campaign to retake the terrorists' last major stronghold in Iraq began nearly three months ago.Pressing their advance on Saturday, troops closed in on the Tigris river that runs through the middle of Mosul.Elite counter-terrorism services (CTS) pushed into the city from the east in October, but regular army units like the 16th division deployed to the north made slower progress and the offensive stalled.Iraqi forces renewed their assault just over a week ago and have since made rapid progress in Mosul's eastern districts with increased support from U.S. forces now visible very close to the front lines.'DIDN'T THE AMERICANS TELL YOU?'Although the U.S. presence now is far smaller and more discreet than it was after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, its impact is clearly significant."Didn't the Americans tell you yesterday where the un-mined roads are?" Ali al-Freiji, the commander of the northern front, yelled over a walkie-talkie at one of his officers on the ground in the early stages of Friday's assault."The longer you take, the more the enemy will reinforce. The goal is to exploit the enemy's weakness."U.S. servicemen on the edge of the roof squinted through binoculars at Mosul, over which the Iraqi flag could be seen flying in the foreground, and further away -- but still bigger -- the black banner of Daesh.Helicopters buzzed overhead as the Iraqi commanders directed their forces on the ground, and the U.S. adviser informed them the coalition was preparing to fire 24 long-range HIMAR rockets from a base in Qayara, south of Mosul."When the 24th rocket has hit, advance as quickly as possible towards the target," Freiji instructed a commander on the ground via walkie-talkie."Received, received," came a voice from the other end.Then they waited for the rockets, which struck their target in quick succession, sending a thick cloud of dust and debris into the air: "That is a gift from the U.S. Special Forces," said Major General Najm al-Jubbouri.As well as around 5,260 U.S. troops currently deployed in Iraq, there are around 100 special operations forces who conduct secret raids against senior Daesh leaders.The rockets paved the way for Iraqi forces to advance into the apartment complex, winning another small victory in the largest military campaign the country has seen since the U.S.-led invasion more than a decade ago.And then began the no less challenging task of securing the gains against a counter-attack before night fell."Hurry up, hurry up. You've got less than an hour until sunset," an Iraqi officer urged over his walkie-talkie.