Iraq says it has regained complete control of eastern Mosul

Iraqi forces launched a campaign on October 17 backed by a US-led coalition providing air and ground support to retake Mosul from Daesh, which captured the city in 2014.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A member of Iraqi security forces stands at the top of a building during a battle with Daesh militants in Mosul, Iraq, January 23, 2017.

Updated Jan 24, 2017

Iraqi officials announced on Monday that government troops had taken complete control of eastern Mosul, 100 days after the start of their US-backed military campaign to remove Daesh militants from the city.

Deputy Parliament Speaker Sheikh Humam Hamoudi stated, "We completed the total liberation of the left bank of Mosul, and this is a gift to the Iraqi people," after a meeting with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

A resident of Zanjali, a district on the west side of Mosul, who asked not to be identified, said Daesh fighters "have arrived from the left bank and are trying to find houses on the right bank" to flee the government forces' advance.

The west side of Mosul could prove more complicated to take as it is crisscrossed by streets too narrow for armoured vehicles.

The militants are expected to put up a tough fight as they are cornered in a shrinking area of the northern Iraqi city.

Mosul had a pre-war population of nearly 2 million, and about 750,000 people are estimated to live in western Mosul. More than 160,000 have been displaced since the start of the offensive, according to the United Nations.

Iraqi forces estimated the number of militants inside the city at 5,000 to 6,000 at the start of operations three months ago and say 3,300 have been killed in the fighting since.

Iraqi state TV said the army had set up temporary bridges across the Tigris River south of Mosul to allow troops to cross in preparation for the offensive on the western bank.