BARTELLA, Iraq – The commander of the elite Iraqi Counter-Terrorism forces (ICTS) declared victory in eastern Mosul on Wednesday afternoon.
“We are celebrating the victory and liberation today,” announced Lt. Gen Talib al-Shaqati in a press conference in Bartella, “the liberation of the left bank of Mosul with its districts and people.”
A few minutes later, the Iraqi Joint Command released a statement saying that a few areas in eastern Mosul are still not liberated.
"The entire left coast has not been liberated yet,” Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Rashid Yarallah, the commander of the "We are Coming Nineveh" operations, said. “Regarding the ICTS, they have accomplished their mission as part of the eastern front on the left bank of the city of Mosul, and the advance to the remaining areas is still continuing.”
The ICTS commander expressed optimism for life to return to normal in Mosul.
"I think normal life will be back in the next few days. Life was normal today in those areas. We call it the clean liberation,” Shaqati said. “Clean liberation indeed because the fighters have high fighting skills, resources and precise intelligence of the terrorist networks. So they target only the terrorists and in their targeted positions."
"I think the liberation of the right coast will be easier than the left coast,” he added, noting that ISIS has thrown all it had at the Iraqi forces. The proof to that, he claimed, is the defeat of ISIS in a short time in the inner districts in eastern Mosul which have been the focus of the military operation since December 29.
He added that he is speaking on behalf of the ICTS and that "the majority of areas" on the left coast, which he described as "important" have been liberated. He acknowledged that in the north of city there are some areas where ISIS still has a presence.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi also declared on Wednesday that an ultimate liberation of the east of Mosul is approaching as a few areas, including Ghabat neighborhood, [Saddam Hussein's ] palaces and a few more areas are yet to be liberated in the northeast of Mosul.
Rudaw understands that the two districts of Arabiyah and Rashidiyah, north of the city, are also still under ISIS control. Fighting is taking place nearby where Iraqi forces have announced the liberation of Qaziyah 2.
Shaqati also said that the ICTS have liberated Nineveh Athariyah, while the Joint Command also announced the liberation of Tal Narkal, northeastern of the city.
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Dark green - under Peshmerga control
Light green - encircled/battling by Peshmerga
Red - under Iraqi control
Pink - encircled/battling by Iraqi forces
Yellow - under Hashd al-Shaabi control
Orange - encircled/battling by Hashd al-Shaabi