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Iraqi forces liberate west Mosul district

Iraqi soldiers are seen in west Mosul's Zanjili neighborhood on June 1, 2017 during battles with Daesh terrorists. (Photo by AFP)

Iraqi forces have managed to wrest control over a neighborhood in the west of the city of Mosul where Daesh is taking its last breaths in the face of multi-pronged operations by government troops.

Members of Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) retook the al-Saha al-Oula district, said Staff Lieutenant General Abdulamir Yarallah, who heads the military command coordinating the Mosul operation.

The announcement came hours after Iraqi Lieutenant General Raed Shakir Jawdat, the commander of the federal police, said his forces were advancing on another district to the west of Mosul.

Iraqi federal policemen "continue to advance cautiously, and have imposed their control over 40 percent of al-Zanjili neighborhood,” he said.

A similar operation is also underway by the Iraqi forces in Mosul’s al-Shifaa area. The three districts are located north of Moul’s Old City, a densely populated warren of narrow streets.

The United Nations estimated recently that up to 200,000 civilians are still trapped in harrowing conditions in Mosul’s Daesh-controlled areas, most of them in the Old City.

"Because of the tightness of the area and the presence of a number of residents and fear of injuries and damage... to civilians and buildings, we have avoided entering [the Old City] at the present time," said CTS commander Staff Brigadier General Haidar al-Obeidi.

Displaced Iraqis evacuate their homes in west Mosul's Zanjili neighborhood on June 1, 2017 during battles between Iraqi forces and Daesh terrorists. (Photo by AFP)

Daesh seized Mosul in 2014, when it began a campaign of death and destruction in Iraq.

Since October 2016, the Iraqi army soldiers and allied volunteer fighters have been leading a major operation to recapture the city.

They took control of eastern Mosul in January and launched the battle in the west in February.

The Mosul liberation operation has taken longer than planned as Takfiri elements are dug among civilians, using bombings, sniper fire and mortar attacks to slow the advance of the Iraqi forces.

The full liberation of the city would likely spell the end for the Iraqi half of Daesh's so-called caliphate.

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