U.S. envoy: Any ISIS fighters left in Mosul will die


U.S. envoy: Any ISIS fighters left in Mosul will die

He said Iraqi forces controlled Souk al-Arbaa and al-Remah Square in Bab al-Toub, located around 300 meters from the Old Bridge, one of five bridges that connected west Mosul to its east.

More civilians fled their homes in west Mosul on Sunday (March 12) as fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants intensified.

Federal police and rapid response brigades - an elite interior ministry unit - said over the weekend they had entered the Bab al-Tob area of the Old City, where fighting is expected to be toughest because of its narrow alleyways, where armoured vehicles can not pass. The commandos of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) continued their advance inside the neighbourhoods of Aghawat and Risala in the west of the old city centre.

Iraqi government troops fighting alongside anti-ISIS militias have now taken a third of the western half of the city - the last major terror stronghold in the country.

In another development, Iraqi archeologists said they think that tunnels dug by Islamic State militants under a destroyed shrine in Mosul have revealed the palace of an ancient Assyrian king who ruled some 2,700 years ago.

In addition to carrying out strikes targeting ISIS, the US-led coalition has trained almost 90,000 members of the Iraqi security forces, the U.S. envoy said.

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Three months after it was liberated, Isil is still launching attacks on the eastern side of this city which is divided by the Tigris river.

According to Reuters, losing control of Mosul would be a major blow to ISIS. No more than 2,500 jihadists are believed remaining in Mosul and Tal Afar, according to a United States defense official.

The Badush site is not the first mass grave to be found during the Mosul campaign, in which Iraqi forces recaptured areas around the country's second city before battling ISIL inside it.

It is by far the largest city IS has held since the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a caliphate spanning Iraq and Syria from a mosque in Mosul in the summer of 2014. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in a recent visit to Mosul said the defeat of ISIS militants in Mosul is "inevitable".

"I respect the sovereignty of states, and I have secured the approval of Syria to strike positions (on its territory)", Abadi told a conference in the Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya on Wednesday. "We will keep on fighting them", he said.

In Syria, it still holds Raqqa city as its main stronghold, as well as most of Deir al-Zor province, but is losing ground to an array of separate enemies, including USA -backed forces and the Russian-backed Syrian army.



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