Iraqi Forces Retake Eastern Mosul

Posted January 20, 2017

Iraq's military says it has retaken the eastern side of Mosul from the Islamic State group (ISIS), a critical milestone in its battle to drive the terror organization from the country's second-largest city.

Last Friday, January 13 the army launched an operation to capture the Mosul University complex, used by IS militants as a base and, Iraqi officials said, a chemical weapons production site.

The operation has also left more than 148,000 people homeless, according to the statement.

Wednesday's announcement comes exactly three months after a major operation began to take back the city.

The militants have been driven out of most eastern districts in their Iraqi stronghold in a 3-month-old USA -backed campaign. But progress soon slowed as forces grew nearer to the city's center and ran up against a well-prepared and entrenched ISIS opposition.

In recent weeks, the Iraqi military has regained the initiative against IS after their offensive stalled because of inclement weather and stiff resistance by the militant group.

ISIS still controls all of Mosul's districts west of the Tigris. "The promise of final liberation and total victory in Mosul has come close to being realised", he said.

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The UN and other relief organisations had planned for an unprecedented exodus of up to one million people but so far about 150,000 civilians have been displaced as a result of the Mosul offensive.

The UN said in a statement night that almost 12,500 people were forced to flee their homes just over the past week. Some of the displaced families have begun returning to liberated areas in the wake of the government advance.

"We're prepared to continue striking VBEIDs anywhere they can be found", he said.

Officers have previously said that the more densely populated west bank of the Tigris could pose additional military challenges.

The Iraqi army and allies are planning to retake the west of Mosul, which could prove hard as the old city is a warren like urban labyrinth.

The second phase of the battle to retake Mosul - which is led by Iraqi security forces and aided by the Kurdish Peshmerga, a Shiite-led militia, and the USA -led global coalition against the Islamic State - began December 29 after the initial offensive, which began October 17, was suspended.

"We can already see into the future in other parts of Iraq".

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