Iraqi Commander: Troops push further into western Mosul

As Ankara said, its allies now had “near complete control” of the town, a fresh round of peace talks opened between the Syrian opposition and the government in Geneva.

Iraqi Government forces are pushing further into western Mosul, with military police routing ISIL fighters from two neighbourhoods.

Both the Ghazlani military base and the airport will serve as a base of operations as Iraqi forces launch subsequent pushes into western neighborhoods.

Col Al Wabdan was referring to what is known as “the fourth bridge”, the southernmost of five bridges – all of which are damaged and unusable – across the Tigris river that divides the northern Iraqi city.

“We faced vehicle bombs, suicide attackers and mortar shelling”, al-Maturi said. Militants often use hospitals, schools, and religious buildings in the hopes that coalition forces would be reluctant to bomb them. “We are there to train, advise and assist the Iraqi security forces”. “I don’t see that happening here”. A lack of power is making it hard to charge cell phones, with many people relying on generators for electricity at the same time fuel prices are rising.

The narrow streets of the Old City, home to the mosque where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his only public appearance as IS leader and proclaimed the “caliphate” in July 2014, could turn into a death trap. IS has covered some streets with roofs to block aerial surveillance.

ISIS is in control of hills between Sahaji and Mosul, Iraq’s second city. Thousands of ISIS fighters are believed to be in Mosul, the extremist group’s biggest stronghold in Iraq. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights corroborated the report, saying the explosives detonated near Tadif, an IS-controlled town south of al-Bab. A number of journalists have been since the operation began a year ago and in October an Iraqi television journalist was killed covering the battle.

A military statement said the strikes had taken place on Friday morning using F16 fighter jets and had destroyed Daesh headquarters in Albu Kamal.

Iraqi forces stated that units stand less than a kilometer away from Mosul’s directorate premise in the western side of the governorate on Saturday.

Friday’s raid was the deadliest to date against the border guard.

“Our heroic Air Force pilots carried out those strikes in response to the terrorists and they were successfully executed”, the prime minister said.

The air strikes in Bukamal, Syria, on Friday, were coordinated with Damascus and carried out through a joint intelligence-sharing and command centre in Baghdad involving Syria, Iran, Iraq and Russian Federation, according to Brigadier-General Tahseen Ibrahim, a spokesman for Iraq’s Defence Ministry.

“We have chose to follow terrorists anywhere who are trying to kill our people”, USA -backed al-Abadi said in a statement issued by his office.

The Iraqis are taking “deliberate, small bites” out of the densely-packed city, said the official, who requested anonymity to discuss the ongoing battle.

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