Iraqi troops push for last ISIL holdouts in Mosul

A man holds the hand of an elderly woman as they flee from clashes in western Mosul

Iraqi armed forces launched an operation on Saturday to capture one of the few last Daesh-held enclaves in Mosul, according to the military.

"It's a disaster", he said, adding that even before the battle, the residents of the Old City were among Mosul's poorest. "In that house over there, more than 30 were killed and another family up there", he said pointing down one street and up another.

Speaking at a news conference in London, Dillon explained that the remaining ISIS militants control less than 10 square kilometers of the city, adding that cleansing this area is hard to control and constitutes a great challenge.

Iraqi forces are steadily closing in on the remaining pockets of territory held by the Islamic State group in Mosul, inching toward a victory that US -led coalition officials say is "only a matter of time". "Majority have been wounded as they try to reach towards safety, but in densely populated Mosul, where bombs continue to fall and snipers continue to shoot, there is no place that is safe", he said. Iraqi forces have been documented perpetrating torture, abductions, rape and murder.

The Pentagon has released the findings of an investigation into the March 17 airstrike that said it targeted two IS snipers in the building, setting off a series of explosions that killed 105 civilians.

A boy carries heavy belongings through the rubble as he flees fighting between Iraqi special forces and ISIS militants in western Mosul on May 15. ISIS has lost 21,200 square miles (55,000 square kilometers) of territory and regained none of it, the Pentagon said recently.


The U.S. -led coalition has repeatedly praised Iraqi forces for showing respect for human life in the Mosul fight, but there have been instances of high civilian casualties due to the use of artillery and airstrikes.

Iraqi forces seized the eastern portion of Mosul in January, but the western portion half has proven to be a much more hard fight, and one that does not appear to be coming to an end any time soon.

Multiple security forces units are attacking "what remains of the un-liberated areas" on the west bank of the River Tigris, the Joint Operations Command said in a statement.

The United Nations last week said up to 200,000 more people could flee Mosul as fighting moves to the Old City.

The new push of the paramilitary forces began late Wednesday night and reportedly freed many villages scattered in north and west of Baaj.

Iraqi forces dropped leaflets over the area Friday, telling civilians to flee in an effort to facilitate the military operations. The Iraqi government said more than 742,000 people have left Mosul and surrounding areas since the offensive began.

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