Mosul – Iraqi forces tightened the noose on ISIS members in Mosul Wednesday after controlling the road leading to Tal Afar, the last exit used by militants to escape the city.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement said Wednesday that the number of civilians who have fled western Mosul since the start of security operations to retake the region from ISIS has risen to 26,000.
The army’s 9th Armored Division was within a kilometer of Mosul’s Syria Gate, the city’s northwestern entrance, a general from the unit told Reuters by telephone.
“We effectively control the road, it is in our sight,” he said.
Reuters said the road links Mosul to Tal Afar, another ISIS stronghold 60 km to the west, and then to Syria.
The closing of the westward highway meant that ISIS militants are besieged in the city center, said Lt General Abdul Wahab al-Saidi, the deputy commander of the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS), deployed in the southwestern side.
At the southern frontline in the battle of West Mosul, security forces were few meters away from the government complex, home to government buildings of the old city center.
Spokesperson of Iraq’s elite Rapid Response Division Lt. Firas al-Zubeidi told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The government complex in the Dawassa neighborhood is now in the range of the division’s fire.”
Al-Zubeidi said the Division discovered an ISIS training camp called “Palmyra Camp” near the Mosul airport.
“The engineering team at the Division was capable to dismantle more than 75 explosive devices planted by ISIS militants in the camp before escaping,” he said.
Raed Shaker Jawdat, commander of Iraqi federal police told Asharq Al-Awsat that his forces killed 17 terrorists in the Dawassa neighborhood on Wednesdsay.
Commander of Nineveh Liberation Operation, General Abdul Amir Rashid Yarallah, said that the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) forces completely cleared the residential buildings of Maamoun neighborhood, and conducted initial progress in the adjacent Mansour neighborhood.
The Rapid Response also continued their clearing operation in the buildings and streets of the neighborhoods of Jawsaq and Tayaran in the southern outskirts of Mosul.