Iraqi troops begin advance into Mosul’s Old City

March 27, 2017 9:00 pm

Members of Iraqi
Rapid Response forces are pictured during clashes with Daesh militants
in , March 13, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

Iraqi forces have launched a
renewed attack against Daesh terrorists in Mosul’s Old City, with Prime
Minister Haider al-Abadi predicting that the Takfiri group will be
defeated “within weeks”.

One of the targets of the new
push is Faruq Street, which runs near the Great Mosque of al-Nuri where
Daesh chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his only known public appearance
after the terrorists seized Mosul in 2014.
Iraqi forces have been
operating in the Old City area for several weeks, but they have faced
tough resistance and progress has been slow.
Government troops and
volunteer Hashd al-Sha’abi forces drove Daesh militants from the
eastern part of Mosul, ’s second-largest city, early this year. The
fight has now moved to Mosul’s densely populated western neighborhoods.
On
Monday, the commander of the federal police Lieutenant General Raed
Shakir Jawdat said his troops and Rapid Response Division units began to
advance on the southwestern axis of the Old City.
The government
launched the operation to retake Mosul in October. Daesh overran large
areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces have since
retaken much of the territory they lost.
Prime Minister al-Abadi
told Fox Sunday that Iraq is defeating Daesh “militarily” but that
the terror group would continue to exist until it is eradicated in Syria
and elsewhere in the .
“As a terrorist organization,
they will try. So that’s where we need the efforts of others. Flush them
out of Syria and other places,” he said.
The United Nations says
400,000 people are “trapped” in central Mosul under siege-like
conditions as Iraqi forces battle Daesh for the city’s west.

A
family walks from Daesh-controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special
forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, March 4, 2017. (Photo by
Reuters)The city is reeling from US aerial attacks on March 17 which reportedly killed more than 200 people.
On
Saturday, the US acknowledged that it had carried out a strike on a
location in west Mosul where civilians were reportedly killed but Iraqi
officials referred to more than one day of strikes.
The United
Nations has said it was “stunned by the horrendous loss of life” in the
attacks. Iran’s top security official has called the airstrikes a “war
crime” which should be urgently addressed in a court of justice.
The
Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday that since the
campaign against western Mosul began on Feb. 19, nearly 700 civilians
have been killed in airstrikes which are mainly carried out by the US.
In
one incident, nearly 40 people were killed in a US airstrike in western
al-Jawsaq neighborhood after Daesh militants used the residents as
human shields, the group said.

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