Iraqi military says it has retaken two Mosul neighborhoods from Daesh

Displaced children fleeing from deadly clashes as Iraqi Counter Terrorism Services guide them to safety in the old city of Mosul Iraq

Iraqi forces continue to push deeper into Mosul's Old City, their key target in the eight-month-old campaign to capture Daesh's de facto capital, and Iraq's prime minister predicted victory very soon.

"The 16th infantry division has liberated al-Mashahda district in the Old City of Mosul and raised Iraq's flag above its buildings", the statement published on its Facebook platform reads.

Lieutenant-General Abdul Ghani al-Assadi, commander of the Counterterrorism Service (CTS) in Mosul, alleged that "only a small part (of the fighters) remains in the city, specifically the Old City" of Mosul with its narrow alleyways which is not maneuverable by heavy engines.

The Iraqi army, the Kurdistan Regional government and a US-led coalition are involved in what is known as the "Battle for Mosul", a joint military offensive that began in October 2016 and aims to retake control of the besieged town.

"The victory announcement will come in a very short time", Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on his website Monday evening. Despite the fact that ISIS now faces a stark new operational reality with less territory under its control and having suffered major symbolic and tactical losses, it is premature to conclude that the struggle against ISIS is over because numerous factors that contributed to its rise remain.

The army recaptured eastern Mosul in January and is now fighting to retake control of the western part of the city.




The Iraqi forces in Old Mosul now battle ISIS within hand-grenade range.

Up to 350 militants are estimated by the Iraqi military to be dug in there among civilians in wrecked houses and crumbling infrastructure. Residents who have escaped from the Old City, say that they have little food, water or medicine in the Old City.

ISIS militants blew up the al-Nuri Mosque last week where the ISIS leader declared his so-called caliphate about three years ago.

A US-led global coalition is providing air and ground support in the eight-month-old offensive.

But as it advances, the human toll in Mosul becomes clearer.

Security forces blocked their attempted fight-back, al-Saadi said.

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