Iraqi forces corner Daesh in Mosul's Old City

Iraqi army units have forced Daesh back, confining them to a shrinking area next to the Tigris river. Almost 200 Daesh fighters are now holding control of what looks like a hopeless last stand in their former stronghold.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Omar (C), a young wounded Iraqi boy whose family was killed in the ongoing battles to oust Daesh from Mosul, sits with members of the Iraqi army as they help him to flee the Old City of Mosul on July 3, 2017.

Iraqi forces have made further advances in Mosul's Old City where Daesh fighters were battling to hold on to the last few streets under their control on Monday.

In fierce fighting, Iraqi army units forced the insurgents back, cornering them in a shrinking area no more than 300 metres wide and 500 metres long by the Tigris river, according to a military media office.

Smoke covered parts of the Old City, rocked by air strikes and artillery salvos through the morning.

Almost 200 Daesh fighters are making what looked like a hopeless last stand in their former stronghold.

But as the battle rages on, the impact on the civilians left behind, is becoming clearer.

An estimated 600 civilians are still trapped inside the city.

TRT World 's Nicole Johnston has more from Mosul.

PM visit expected

Reaching the Tigris would give Iraqi forces full control over the city and is expected by the end of this week.

Prime Minister Haider al Abadi is expected to visit Mosul to formally declare victory, and a week of nationwide celebrations is planned.

Mosul is by far the largest city ever controlled by Daesh.

It was here, nearly three years ago to the day, that it declared the founding of its so-called caliphate over parts of Iraq and Syria.

The city's fall would mark the effective end of the Iraqi half of the caliphate, although the group still controls territory west and south of Mosul, where tens of thousands of civilians live.

A US-led international coalition is providing air and ground support to the Mosul offensive by the Iraqi army, elite Counter Terrorism Service units and militarised police.

Thousands flee Old City

Thousands of people have fled the densely-populated Old City over the past 24 hours, state TV said.

Months of grinding urban warfare have displaced 900,000 people, about half the city's pre-war population, and killed thousands, according to aid organisations.

Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has left the fighting in Mosul to local commanders and is believed to be hiding near the Iraq-Syrian border, according to US and Iraqi military sources.

Although unconfirmed Russian reports claims he was killed in an air strike.

The group has moved its remaining command and control structures to Mayadin, in eastern Syria, US intelligence sources have said.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies