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Mosul Old City Offensive Imminent | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iraqi forces on the roof of a house on the front line in the old city of western Mosul. (AFP)

London – While Iraqi military sources warned on Friday from an imminent offensive in the Old City of Mosul, trapped civilians in the area were facing difficult choices on how to evacuate.

Iraqi forces asked residents to leave the Old City using the “safe corridors” that are designed for this purpose, but at the same time, those forces asked the residents not to use cars or motorcycles in order to avoid them being confused with the extremists.

Meanwhile, Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesperson for the 68-member coalition against ISIS, said on Friday that Iraqi Security Forces were continuing their advancement in the battle against the terrorist organization and are now surrounding three neighborhoods in western Mosul.

“They will liberate Mosul — it’s just a matter of time when that’s going to happen — but I’m not going to put a timeline on that for them,” he said.

Speaking at a news conference in London, Dillon explained that the remaining ISIS militants control less than 10 square kilometers of the city, adding that cleansing this area is difficult to control and constitutes a great challenge.

“West Mosul is arguably the most complex and dangerous combat urban environment that any force has seen in decades,” he said.

The Colonel added that around 50,000 fighters with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) supported by the International Coalition were now getting prepared to regain the Syrian city of Raqqa.

Dillon said ISIS realized it would not win the Mosul battle and therefore its militants now aim to kill as many people as they can to prevent life in the city from returning to normal.