dglobalnews.com Iraqi army makes advances in western Mosul as thousands flee fighting
Published: Mon, February 27, 2017
Global Media | By Cecelia Webb

Iraqi army makes advances in western Mosul as thousands flee fighting

Iraqi army makes advances in western Mosul as thousands flee fighting

In just 24 hours nearly 2,400 Iraqi civilians fled western Mosul, where government forces are battling the Islamic state for control, officials said Sunday.

Iraqi forces, backed by aerial support by the US -led global coalition, control eastern Mosul.

"Counterterrorism forces liberated the al-Ma'moun neighborhood and raise the Iraqi flag above the buildings", Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Rasheed Yarallah, commander of Iraqi forces in Nineveh, said.

Meanwhile, the federal police and elite interior ministry units, known as Rapid Response, are still fighting street-to-street battles to liberate southern neighborhood of Jawsaq and Tayaran from the extremist militants, the JOC said.

Militants used drones to drop explosives on the advancing troops and launched a tirade of suicide auto bomb attacks as the Iraqi army progressed into the ISIL stronghold, however, civilians trapped amid the fighting remain a grave concern.

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Several thousand militants, including many who traveled from Western countries to join up, are believed to be holed up in the city with practically nowhere to go, which could lead to a fierce standoff amid a population of 750,000.

United Nations figures suggest that over 750,000 people are trapped in their homes in the west of the city, threatening to slow the progress of the Iraqi troops as they try to differentiate between friend and foe.

For the first time, Iraqi fighter jets carried out airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria, according to a statement issued Friday by Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, and Iraq's Joint Operation Command.

Mosul, 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under the IS control since June 2014, when Iraqi government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.

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