Mosul- Iraqi forces entered on Sunday the heart of Mosul and tightened the noose on ISIS militants after cutting off the group’s last link to the western part of the city.
Federal Police Chief Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday that Iraqi forces have now retaken more than one third of Mosul.
“The Iraqi Federal Police and the Rapid Response Force have now infiltrated 200 meters inside the Bab al-Toub area of Mosul’s old city. The Iraqi forces controlled the high-rises where they sent snipers and ammunition on their rooftops,” Jawdat said.
He said Iraqi forces controlled Souk al-Arbaa and al-Remah Square in Bab al-Toub, located around 300 meters from the Old Bridge, one of five bridges that connected west Mosul to its east.
On Sunday, fierce battles raged in Mosul’s old city.
Jawdat uncovered that a new military strategy will now be implemented to prevent targeting civilians still trapped inside the city.
As the Iraqi forces announced their advance on the old city, Nineveh Operations Commander General Abdul Amir Rashid Yarallah reported that elite troops of the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) liberated the Mosul al-Jadida (New Mosul) and al-Aqhwat districts, located near the southwestern part of the old city.
During a press conference in Baghdad Sunday, Brett McGurk, the special US presidential envoy for the global coalition against ISIS said the Iraqi army is now in control of the last road leading out of Mosul.
McGurk was quoted by AFP as saying: “ISIS is trapped. Just last night, the 9th Iraqi army division… cut off the last road out of Mosul.”
The envoy added that backed by a US-led air strikes and other support, Iraqi forces have retaken 60 percent of the territory they had lost in 2014.
Staff Major General Maan al-Saadi of the CTS said “more than a third” of west Mosul was now under the control of security forces.
Meanwhile, Iraq’s Minister of Migration and Displaced Jassem Mohammed al-Jaff said around 100,000 people have been displaced since the operation to liberate west Mosul began on Feb. 19.