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ISIS Dislodged from All but 12 Sq. Kilometers in Western Mosul | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An explosion hits near a vehicle belonging to Iraq’s elite Rapid Response Division on February 25, 2017, during the assault to retake the western half of Mosul, which is still occupied by ISIS group jihadists (AFP Photo/ARIS MESSINIS)

Baghdad- Iraqi authorities announced on Tuesday that ISIS militants based in Western Mosul are cornered now that 90 percent of the city has been liberated by Iraqi forces.

Iraqi forces have dislodged ISIS from all but 12 square kilometers of Mosul, a military spokesman said after planes dropped leaflets into the city telling civilians the battle was nearly won.

Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, spokesman for Iraq’s Joint Operations Command, told a news conference in Baghdad that ISIS now controls just over 10 percent of west Mosul.

“The terrorist organization is now controlling around 10 percent of the area of the west Mosul,” Brig.Gen. Rasool said.

Both Staff Lieutenant General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, a senior Iraqi special forces commander, and Colonel John Dorrian, the spokesman for the US-led international coalition against ISIS, said that the end was near for extremists in the city.

More so, Brig. Gen. Rasool told reporters in Baghdad that over 16,000 ISIS militants were killed by the joint offensive of the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces, backed by the US-led Global Coalition against ISIS in the five-month military operation to reclaim Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul.

On the other hand, Dorrian said that coalition strikes have destroyed more than 300 explosives-rigged vehicles in Mosul, as well as over 200 ISIS tunnels and more than a thousand extremists fighting positions.

The Iraqi forces have made some quick advances against ISIS militants in the city as various forces, including the US-trained Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) and the elite Rapid Response Force, attacked ISIS-held areas from different sides, creating pressure on ISIS’ ability to coordinate a defense.

The coalition of forces have also destroyed 697 car bombs, 889 of various mortars, and 6,000 explosive devices (IEDs), and 76 bomb-making factories, Rasool said.

ISIS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes have since retaken much of the territory they lost to the terrorists.

But while the battle for Mosul is moving ever closer to its conclusion, the city’s recapture will not mark the end of the war against ISIS in Iraq.

Losing Mosul would remove from jihadists’ hands the largest Iraqi population center still under ISIS control, and would be a major blow to their narrative that they have established a cross-border ISIS.

But ISIS also holds other territories in Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital, as well as in Kirkuk and Anbar, while Syria’s Raqa is also controlled by the extremists.