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Iraqi forces liberate key west Mosul district from Daesh

Iraq's elite Rapid Response Division members gather inside a building in Mosul's western al-Shifa district as they fight against Daesh terrorists on June 12, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Iraqi forces have managed to wrest control over a neighborhood in the western side of the flashpoint city of Mosul, in their latest push to liberate the whole city from the grip of Daesh terrorists.

The commander of Nineveh Liberation Operation, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah, announced the recapture of Bab Sinjar district on Thursday, saying the Iraqi national flag was hoisted over buildings there.

Bab Sinjar is situated just north of the historic, densely-populated Mosul’s Old City, whose narrow streets make it difficult for the Iraqi troops to fight back.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Yarallah announced the liberation of four villages in western Mosul as well as the Iraqi forces' plans to advance on the city’s al-Faruq district.

Iraqi forces about to enclose Old City

Separately, Iraqi forces said they were about to complete the encirclement of the Mosul’s Old City where only Medical City, a complex of hospitals in al-Shifa neighborhood, remains under the Takfiri group's control.

“Troops are advancing and, God willing, we will complete the recapture of al-Shifa district today or tomorrow. We opened safe corridors for the people to evacuate them to safe areas after providing them with food and medical aid and after that transporting them to places prepared for them,” said Iraqi Brigadier Mustafa Sabah Younis.

Smoke rises in Shifa neighborhood during clashes between the Iraqi forces and Daesh terrorists in western Mosul, June 15, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

The Iraqi army soldiers and allied volunteer fighters have been leading a major operation to recapture the city since October 2016. 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 scattered among civilians, using bombings, sniper fire, and mortar attacks to slow the advance of the Iraqi forces.

About 800,000 people have already fled Mosul, but some 200,000 civilians are still trapped in harrowing conditions in the city’s Daesh-controlled areas.

The full liberation of the city would strip the terrorist group of its last urban stronghold in Iraq.

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