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ISIS Hardliners Lose One of Four Western Mosul Districts to Iraqi Forces - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iraqi forces backed by Washington on Friday recaptured one of the four key districts making up the ISIS-held enclave in Mosul, a military statement said.

The elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) units took the Sihha district, about one week after the start of operations to dislodge the militants from the enclave and finish off the offensive to capture Mosul, now in its eighth month.

With the loss of Sihha, the enclave has shrunk to three districts alongside the western bank of the Tigris river — the densely populated Old City center, Zanjili and the Medical City.

Iraqi government forces retook eastern Mosul in January and began a new push on May 27 to capture the enclave where about 200,000 people are trapped in harrowing conditions.

The Mosul offensive started in October with air and ground support from a US-led international coalition. It has taken much longer than expected as ISIS ultra-hardliners are fighting in the middle of civilians, slowing the advance of the assailants.

At least seven civilians were killed and 23 wounded by ISIS mortar shells as they tried to flee Zanjili on Thursday, Iraqi police said.

The fall of Mosul would, in effect, mark the end of the Iraqi half of the “caliphate” declared in 2014 over parts of Iraq and Syria by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a speech from a historic mosque in the old city.

In Syria, Kurdish forces backed by US-air strikes are besieging ISIS forces in the city of Raqqa, the militants’ de facto capital in that country.

About 700,000 people, about a third of the pre-war population of Mosul, have already fled, seeking refuge either with friends and relatives or in camps.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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