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Iraqi forces strike last ISIS-held Mosul Old City

Sunday 18-06-2017 - 01:36 PM
News Agencies
Photo Credit: Reuters
Photo Credit: Reuters
Mosul (Iraq) - Iraqi forces launch its final assault on ISIS-held Mosul Old City on Sunday, an assault they hope to be the last in a nine-month campaign, to seize the militants' stronghold, as Reuters reported.
The historic district is the last still under control of the militants in the city which used to be their capital in Iraq.
It is a densely populated maze of narrow alleyways where fighting is often conducted house by house.
About 100,000 civilians remain trapped there in harrowing conditions, with little food, water and medicine and limited access to hospitals, according to the United Nations.
Photo Credit: Reuters
Photo Credit: Reuters
"This will be a terrifying time for around 100,000 people still trapped in Mosul's Old City ... now at risk of getting caught up in the fierce street fighting to come," the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said in a statement.
"This is the final chapter" in the offensive to take Mosul, said Lieutenant General Abdul Ghani al-Assadi, commander of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) elite units spearheading the assault.
The Iraqi government initially hoped to take Mosul by the end of 2016, but the campaign took longer as militants dug in the middle of civilians to fight back.
Iraqi government forces regained eastern Mosul in January, then a month later began the offensive on the side located west of the Tigris, which includes the Old City.
The fall of Mosul would, in effect, mark the end of the Iraqi half of the "caliphate" that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared in a speech from a historic mosque in the Old City three years ago, covering parts of Iraq and Syria.

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