Members of Iraqi forces carry their weapons on the front line during a battle with Daesh militants in western Mosul, Iraq, June 5, 2017.
Members of Iraqi forces carry their weapons on the front line during a battle with Daesh militants in western Mosul, Iraq, June 5, 2017.

Iraqi forces repelled a major counter-attack by Daesh fighters, many of them wearing suicide vests, in a district south of the Old City of Mosul, their remaining enclave in the city, at dawn on Wednesday, a police commander said.

The counter-attack came just a day after Iraqi forces recaptured the Zanjili district located to the north of the Old City in west Mosul.

Dozens of Daesh fighters were killed in the operations to push back the militants, the commander said.

Residents said the members of the Daesh terrorist group seized a number of blocks in the Al Danadan district before being driven out in fierce clashes.

In an online statement, Daesh said it killed 40 from the federal police forces deployed in west Mosul and destroyed eight military vehicles.

Iraqi forces in mid-October last year launched a huge operation, their largest in years, to retake Mosul, the country's second largest city.

The troops retook eastern Mosul in January and began a renewed push on May 27 to capture the remaining enclave.

Baghdad talks

A high level Syrian regime forces' delegation held talks in Baghdad with Iraqi counterparts on border security in the first public visit of its kind in years to coordinate the fight against Daesh, the Iraqi defence ministry said on Wednesday.

The Syrian regime forces last week reached the Iraqi border in a move that could open an overland supply route from their allies in Iran, in a major concern for the US and its own allies in the region.

The Iraqi army's chief of staff, Lieutenant General Othman al Ghanmi, met in Baghdad with a "high-level delegation" from the Syrian defence ministry on Tuesday to discuss controlling joint borders, according to a defence ministry statement.

"The meeting discussed ... the Iraqi-Syrian field of operations, it being one field against a common enemy, which is the terrorist Daesh organisation ...," the defence ministry said in a statement, referring to Daesh.

"We discussed holding Syria-Iraq borders to maintain pressure on the terrorist enemy and establishing a joint operations centre through which both sides can coordinate," it added.

The statement did not give details on the delegation. Iraqi military sources said previous visits by senior Syrian regime officials were held in secret.

The Iraqi army chief of staff said they also agreed to continue the exchange of intelligence and information to provide flexibility for the Iraqi air forces to bomb targets near the border and prevent militants from access from one country to the other.

Syrian regime forces and allied militia in the south-east Syrian desert reached the Iraqi border last week near the Tanf base where US special forces are training local militants to fight Daesh.

Securing border territory between Iraq and Syria is crucial also for Iran to reopen a land route to supply Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad's army with weapons in his protracted war with rebels and militants.

Iraqi warplanes struck Daesh targets inside Syria in February in what appeared to be the first time Iraqi jets conducted such raids across the border. A Syrian regime source said the strikes had been coordinated with Damascus.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies