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Iraqi Ministry of Defense Close on Liberating Eastern Mosul | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A military vehicle of Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) forces is seen at the site of car bomb attack during a battle with Islamic State militants in Andalus neighborhood of Mosul, Iraq, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Baghdad – Iraqi Defense Ministry announced on Monday the complete liberation of the left bank of Mosul, adding that Prime Minister Haidar Abadi would soon be making a formal announcement.

“We completed the total liberation of the left bank of Mosul and this is a gift to the Iraqi people,” the statement said.

“These are the last neighborhoods of the center of the city (on) the left bank,” the statement added, referring to eastern Mosul.

Government forces had taken complete control of eastern Mosul, 100 days after the start of their U.S.-backed campaign to dislodge ISIS militants from the city.

The statement was issued hours after commandership of operation “We are coming, Nineveh” announced it has entered al-Rashidiya neighborhood, located north of the city, ISIS last stronghold in the left bank of Mosul.

On Monday, PM Haider al-Abadi ordered an investigation into violations of human rights and other abuses purportedly committed by government troops and paramilitary forces battling ISIL for Mosul.

Abadi said the probe would examine “cases of kidnappings, mistreatment and violations” against civilians. The PM blamed such incidents on “groups that exploit the good name” of Iraqi soldiers and Shia and Sunni paramilitaries.

Abadi also said that the abuses were recorded and then posted on social media to “spoil the joy of victory and to defame the real image of the brave security forces and their sacrifices to liberate the land and to maintain security.”

On January 5, Amnesty International announced that members of Popular Mobilization Forces participated in systemic violations against civilians.

Mahmoud Khalaf, mayor of the Samarra district in Saladin province said that Iraqi authorities have executed 31 people convicted of involvement in the 2014 mass killing in northern Iraq of hundreds of Iraqi military personnel by ISIS in the Speicher Camp.

According to Khalaf, the bodies of those executed on Sunday were being held at hospitals in Samarra for eventual delivery to their families.

On June 12, 2014, ISIS terrorists overran Saladin before positing a video online purporting to show the mass killing of hundreds of security officers and army cadets in the province in what became known as the Speicher massacre.

A source at Saladin hospital told DBA that 32 bodies were delivered to the hospital in a large vehicle without a plate number. The source said that the bodies were left in front of the hospital with a list of names of the deceased without any additional information.

The source expressed his fear that the bodies delivered might be of those kidnapped three days ago in Asherqat area after they escaped areas under ISIS control.