- Iraqi forces have started a new push toward Mosul's old city center as they press ahead with their operation to purge the western bank of the Tigris River of Daesh terrorists.
Brigadier-General Yahya Rasool, spokesman for the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC), told state-run television on Sunday that the Iraqi forces were advancing from the south and the southwest toward the city center.
Members of the Counter Terrorism Service were also pushing through Mosul’s Tal al-Ruman and Somood districts, he added.
An unnamed media officer with the Rapid Response Division said the forces were progressing from the south through the neighborhood of Dawasa and Danadan and had reached within a few hundred meters from the government buildings near Mosul’s old city.
Retaking Dawasa is said to be of strategic importance as it hosts the Nineveh governor's headquarters and other government buildings.
Separately, the JOC confirmed that an offensive was underway against terrorists in the four aforesaid Mosul districts, adding, “the advance is still ongoing.”
Displaced people flee their homes in western Mosul, March 5, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
Mosul fell to Daesh in 2014, when the terror outfit began its campaign of death and destruction in the Arab country.
Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters launched the offensive to retake Mosul, Daesh’s last major city stronghold in the country, last October and since then they have made sweeping gains against Takfiri elements.
Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting and launched the battle in the west on February 19.
More than 45,000 people have fled western Mosul since the start of the campaign there, according to the latest figures released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).