Iraqi forces say they will soon declare victory over Daesh, a day after formally announcing the end of the insurgents' self-declared caliphate and the capture of the historic mosque which symbolized their power.

Daesh is now confined to a small area of Mosul's Old City, but its narrow streets and the presence of civilians has made the operation to retake it perilous.
Daesh is now confined to a small area of Mosul's Old City, but its narrow streets and the presence of civilians has made the operation to retake it perilous.

Iraq will declare victory in the eight-month battle to retake the country's second-largest city Mosul, from Daesh in the "next few days," a senior commander said on Friday.

"In the next few days, we will announce the final victory over Daesh," Staff Lieutenant General Abdulghani al-Assadi said in Mosul.

Iraqi forces launched the gruelling battle for Mosul on October 17, advancing to the city and retaking its eastern side before setting their sights on the smaller but more densely populated west.

TRT World's Nicole Johnston has the latest from Erbil.

Daesh is now confined to a small area of Mosul's Old City, but its narrow streets and the presence of civilians has made the operation to retake it perilous.

Assadi estimated that there are between 200 and 300 Daesh militants left in the city, most of them foreigners.

The battle has taken a heavy toll on civilians, leaving hundreds dead or wounded and displacing hundreds of thousands more.

Use of human shields

The battles ahead will be difficult as most of the militants are foreigners expected to fight until the death. They are dug in among civilians, using them as human shields, Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) commanders in the city told Reuters.

The insurgent position is several hundred metres wide and tens of thousands of civilians are trapped there in harrowing conditions, with little food, water, medicine and no access to health services, according to those who managed to flee.

Those who escaped on Friday streamed through alleyways near the Grand al-Nuri Mosque, which Daesh fighters blew up a week ago.

TRT World's Soraya Lennie reports from Mosul.

The end of a caliphate

Iraqi Prime Minister Hailer al-Abadi declared the end of Daesh caliphate – which he called "a state of falsehood"' – on Thursday after CTS captured the ground of the ruined 850-year-old mosque.

It was from the mosque's pulpit that Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his caliphate over parts of Syria and Iraq almost three years ago to the day.

The insurgents chose to blow it up rather than see their black flag taken down from its al-Hadba, or Hunchback minaret where it had been flying since June 2014.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies