Isis On The 'Brink Of Defeat' In Mosul, Military Official Says
Iraqi forces have dislodged Islamic State (ISIS) from all but 12 square kilometers (7.5 miles) of Mosul, a military spokesman said on Tuesday (May 16), after planes dropped leaflets into the city telling civilians the battle was nearly won.
Seven months into the U.S.-backed campaign, the militants now control only a few districts in the western half of Mosul including the Old City, where ISIS is expected to make its last stand.
A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition backing Iraqi forces said the enemy was completely surrounded in the city and its fighters and resources were being destroyed. U.S. Air Force Colonel John Dorrian said "The enemy is on the brink of total defeat in Mosul."
The Iraqi government is pushing to declare victory by the holy month of Ramadan, expected to begin on May 27, even if pockets of resistance remain in the Old City, according to military commanders.
"The terrorist organisation is now controlling around 10 percent of the area of the west Mosul,” Joint Operations Spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said. “Only a few kilometers are remaining and our troops continue to advance into districts and probably in the coming hours we will announce the liberation of more districts. We reassure everyone that, in a very short time, God willing, we will declare the liberation and clearing of west Mosul and raise the Iraqi flag over the Old City."
Seven months into the campaign to recapture Mosul and the militants have been besieged in its northwestern corner, home to the historic Old City center and the medieval Grand al-Nuri Mosque, where their black flag has been flying since June 2014.
The campaign to capture Mosul started on October 17, with air and ground support from a U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition.
The offensive to take Mosul, the largest city under ISIS control in either Iraq or Syria, is turning into the biggest battle in Iraq's turbulent history since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.