Iraqi forces have recaptured around 30 percent of west Mosul from the Islamic State (IS), an Iraqi general said on Sunday, expressing confidence over the outcome of their battle against the jihadists.
“The enemy has lost its fighting power and its resolve has weakened. It has begun to lose command and control,” Maan al-Saadi, commander of the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS), told reporters.
Reuters quoted Saadi as saying that government forces have retaken around 17 of the 40 western districts in Mosul as of now.
CTS troops stormed the al-Jadida and al-Aghawat districts on Sunday, Saadi said, adding that the militants were showing signs of weakness despite initial “fierce” resistance.
The militants are vastly outnumbered and outgunned by Iraqi forces backed by a US-led coalition and are defending their last major stronghold in Iraq using suicide car bombs, snipers and mortars.
Saadi said he expects it will take less time to recapture the western half of the city than the east, which was cleared in January after 100 days of fighting.
More than 200,000 Mosul residents have been displaced since the start of the campaign in October, of which more than 65,000 fled their homes in the past two weeks alone.
Losing Mosul would be a major blow to Islamic State. It is by far the largest city IS has held since the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a caliphate spanning Iraq and Syria from a mosque in Mosul in the summer of 2014.
The group is expected to pose a continuing threat, reverting to insurgent tactics such as bombings.
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