MOSUL, Iraq – Iraqi forces continue to make slow but steady progress as they are expecting to declare the entire Mosul city clear of ISIS in a “very short time,” with clashes happening in grenade-range in the narrow alleys of Old Mosul.
Iraq’s Joint Command stated that they had liberated 50 percent of Old Mosul as of Tuesday evening, but that key areas like the now-destroyed al-Nuri Mosque and al-Hadba minaret remain to be recaptured.
The remaining area is less than two kilometers, the joint command detailed.
One of the remaining areas in the old city is Faruq 2 where Rudaw’s cameras captured clashes between the advancing Iraqi forces and the ISIS militants in close range on Tuesday.
The narrow alleys mean that ISIS will no longer be able to use car bombs. It also means that the Iraqis cannot make use of the military vehicles in the urban areas.
Ayad Azizi, a commander of the Federal Police, told Rudaw on Tuesday that the ISIS militants are now using sniper fire and infiltration tactics as their method of fighting the Iraqi forces.
The ISIS militants launched a series of suicide attacks in the liberated eastern half of Mosul and Old Mosul last week killing dozens of civilians.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said that the final victory will be announced in “a very short time.” He declared the eastern half of Mosul liberated in late January after 100 days since the start of the Mosul offensive last October.
The United Nations has said that up to 150,000 civilians could still be trapped in ISIS-held areas of Old Mosul, fearing that they may be used as human shields.
The Joint Command stated on Tuesday that they liberated a number of places in Old Mosul, including al-Baydh, and Raas al-Jadda. They also declared Mushahada district, northwest of Old Mosul liberated.
Iraqi Federal Police, the US-trained Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) and the Iraqi army, backed by the US-led global coalition, launched a final push to drive out ISIS militants in Old Mosul on June 18. The offensive took a dramatic turn when the ISIS militants exploded the al-Nuri Mosque last week where the ISIS leader declared his so-called caliphate about three years ago.
PM Abadi said that the destruction of the mosque by ISIS was a “formal declaration of defeat.”