Iraqi armed forces capture north of Old City in Mosul

As the operation to dislodge Daesh from their stronghold of Mosul continues, Iraqi troops announce gains as they capture a district just north of the historic Old City quarter.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) ride in a military vehicle on the Iraqi border with Syria, west of Mosul, Iraq, June 12, 2017.

Iraqi forces battling Daesh reported progress on Tuesday in the US-backed campaign as they captured Zanjili district just north of Mosul’s historic Old City.

The troops retook eastern Mosul in January and began a renewed push on May 27 to capture the remaining enclave where up to 200,000 people are reported to be trapped. The last leg of the battle against Daesh has been tough, with Iraqi forces navigating congested urban areas.

With the loss of the Zanjili neighbourhood, the area still held by Daesh in Mosul has shrunk to two districts along the western banks of the Tigris river – the densely populated Old City and Medical City.

''Only Old Mosul is left now; the first regiment is coming from the left side and the second regiment is coming from the right side and we are advancing from here,'' Murtadha Hadi, an Iraqi soldier, said.

Iraqi security forces are heading toward the Al Nuri mosque where Daesh leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi declared a so-called caliphate over parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

TRT World's Kim Vinnell has more on the battle for Mosul.

About 800,000 people, more than a third of the pre-war population of Mosul, have already fled, seeking refuge either with friends and relatives or in camps.

Troops are now fighting areas where civilians can get caught in the crossfire.

''Thanks to our training in the Rapid Deployment forces, we can distinguish between who is an enemy and who is a friend,'' Ali Hussain, an Iraqi army commander said.

''We have managed to help families by providing humanitarian corridors for them.''

The Mosul offensive started in October with air and ground support from a US-led international coalition.

The fall of Mosul would, in effect, mark the end of the Iraqi half of the "caliphate.".

TRTWorld and agencies