Daesh has now been dislodged from all but a handful of districts in the western half of Mosul including the Old City, Iraqi forces say.

Brigadier General Yahya Rasoul said the area controlled by Daesh was no more than 9 percent of west Mosul, which is bisected by the River Tigris.
Brigadier General Yahya Rasoul said the area controlled by Daesh was no more than 9 percent of west Mosul, which is bisected by the River Tigris.

US-backed Iraqi forces pushed deeper into the last pocket of Mosul controlled by Daesh militants on Sunday as the battle for the city approaches an end after seven months of gruelling urban combat.

The militants have now been dislodged from all but a handful of districts in the western half of Mosul including the Old City, where Daesh is expected to make its last stand, taking advantage of narrow streets and its dense population.

Brigadier General Yahya Rasoul said the area controlled by Daesh was no more than 9 percent of west Mosul, which is bisected by the River Tigris.

"It's a very small area. God willing, this is the final phase," Rasool said.

The elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) stormed the Ureibi and Rifaie districts at dawn on Sunday, according to a statement from the Joint Operations Command.

At the same time, the army's ninth division and the Interior Ministry's elite Emergency Response Division attacked the Daesh bastion of 17 Tammouz.

"Daesh is drawing its last dying breath," the commander of the ninth division, Lieutenant General Qasim Nazzal, told state television on Sunday. "Daesh fighters are broken and quickly retreating from fronts."

Daesh hiding among civilians

Vastly outnumbered by the forces arrayed against them, Daesh is fighting back with suicide car bombs and snipers embedded among hundreds of thousands of civilians they are effectively holding hostage.

Conditions in the shrinking area under Daesh control are increasingly desperate as civilians resort to eating weeds and many are killed under heavy bombardment.

The number of people fleeing Mosul has more than doubled to about 10,000 a day since Friday, according to Iraqi government figures.

Defence analyst and former general Jasim al Bahadli said the strategy adopted by Iraqi commanders was to splinter the remaining militants into smaller groups and attack them on multiple fronts to disrupt their command and control.

"By taking back all the districts surrounding the Old City, the militants will have no chance to receive any back-up or reinforcements," he said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies