Iraqi soldiers fight last pockets of Daesh in Mosul's Old City


Iraqi security forces on Wednesday retook control of two more neighborhoods from Islamic State (IS) militants in the old city in the western side of Mosul, the Iraqi military said.

The Old City's stone buildings date mostly from the medieval period.

He went on saying that the Iraqi forces are still struggling to fully liberate the city from ISIS militants.

In Syria, the ISIS-held capital of Raqqa, is virtually encircled by a US-backed, Kurdish-led coalition.

On June 22, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi said the announcement that Mosul is liberated from terrorists may be made within days. Despite the fact that ISIS now faces a stark new operational reality with less territory under its control and having suffered major symbolic and tactical losses, it is premature to conclude that the struggle against ISIS is over because numerous factors that contributed to its rise remain.

The offensive to emancipate Mosul began on October 17 and in January the eastern part of the city was freed by the Tigris River, while the battle for the west began on February 19.

Iraqi troops have claimed that ISIS now controls less than 2 km2 of Mosul and its last defense will fall in very few days.

The army's 16th infantry division captured Hadarat al-Saada and al-Ahmadiyya, the military said in a statement.

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Those residents who have escaped say numerous civilians trapped behind ISIS lines - put at 50,000 by the Iraqi military - are in a desperate situation with little food, water or medicines.

ISIS militants blew up the al-Nuri Mosque last week where the ISIS leader declared his so-called caliphate about three years ago.

A United States-led worldwide coalition is providing air and ground support in the eight- month-old offensive.

Saadi said Daesh holds "very little" territory inside Mosul at the present moment, adding that he hoped the operation would be concluded within days.

But despite staggering territorial losses, IS has managed to launch a number of counterattacks and insurgent assaults inside some Mosul neighborhoods that were retaken from IS earlier this month.

Aid organizations say Islamic State has stopped many civilians from leaving, using them as human shields.

Islamic State's Baghdadi has left the fighting in Mosul to local commanders and is assumed to be hiding in the Iraqi-Syrian border area.