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ISIS Loses Major Mosul Bastion | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Destroyed buildings from fighting between Iraqi forces and ISIS are seen in western Mosul, Saturday, May 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Bram Janssen)

Mosul- ISIS has lost the 17th of July neighborhood, an important bastion in West Mosul, after Iraqi forces launched a new push from several directions to drive the militants from the city’s last pocket controlled by jihadists.

Now, the area controlled by the terrorist organization is no more than 7 percent of west Mosul, which is bisected by the River Tigris.

Jihadists are now retreating to the alleyways of Old Mosul to barricade in them.

Sources said that only “a limited number of gunmen” remain in the 17th of July neighborhood where heavy clashes are taking place between them and government forces.

Chief Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat, the commander of Iraqi Federal Police Forces, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that his forces have “broken through the enemy fortifications” in the 17th of July neighborhood with mortar shells and machineguns.

Drones were also able to make target hits in enemy ranks, he said, although jihadist snipers tried to slow down the advance of the government forces.

In a statement Sunday, senior military commander Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Rasheed Yar Allah said Iraqi special forces are moving to the al-Eraibi and al-Rifaie neighborhoods, while militarized federal police and regular army forces are fighting ISIS in nearby al-Ektisadieen and 17th of July neighborhoods.

Yar Allah also said the forces “have broken through the enemy fortifications” without giving more details.

The operation to retake Mosul was launched in October and the city’s east was declared liberated in January. Iraqi forces launched the operation to retake the west the following month.

In recent weeks, US-backed Iraqi troops have slowly closed in on a small cluster of neighborhoods in the city’s west.

Patriotic Union of Kurdistan media official in Mosul Ghayyath Sorji told Asharq Al-Awsat that territory under the control of ISIS jihadists is gradually declining.

“The territory controlled by the organization is only 7 percent of West Mosul, meaning around six neighborhoods in Old Mosul, he said.