Iraqi security forces in Mosul, Iraq on March 6, 2017.
Iraqi security forces in Mosul, Iraq on March 6, 2017.

US-backed Iraqi security forces took control of Mosul's main government building and its central bank from Daesh, an Iraqi military spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Recapturing these sites is symbolic in driving Daesh out of Mosul, the terrorist group's last major stronghold in Iraq.

Security forces stormed the Nineveh governor's building and the surrounding government complex in an overnight operation, spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Abdel Amir al-Mohammadawi said.

"Our forces killed many from Daesh," the spokesman said.

The central bank in Mosul was used by Daesh as its main court of justice. The court was known for delivering harsh sentences, including stonings, throwing people off building roofs and chopping off hands, reflecting Daesh's ideology.

Mosul's main museum, which was damaged and looted by the militants, was also retaken during the operation.

Even though the buildings were destroyed, recapturing these sites could aid the advance of the US and Iran-backed Iraqi-led coalition on the militants still holding the nearby old city centre.

Observers expect the battle for western Mosul to enter a more complicated phase in the densely-populated old city, where several thousand militants are thought to be hiding among the civilian population. The Iraqi government and its allies fear Daesh will use civilians as human shields as the battle for the city intensifies.

Mosul has symbolic as well as strategic significance for Daesh.

In 2014 at the Grand al-Nuri Mosque in the old city, Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the so-called "caliphate" spanning parts of Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

Turkish, Russian and US generals discuss Iraq and Syria

Iraq was on the agenda of a meeting in neighbouring Turkey's Antalya on Tuesday of Turkey's military chief of staff, General Hulusi Akar, and the heads of the US and Russian armed forces in the region.

The three top generals discussed Iraq, Syria and regional security, the army said in a statement.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies