IRAQI FORCES ADVANCE IN DAESH STRONGHOLD, RECAPTURE MOSUL UNIVERSITY

MOSUL, Iraq, Iraqi government forces, extended grip in the city of Mosul, after intense fighting with the Daesh group, recapturing several buildings of Mosul University, the Iraqi military said.

In the eastern front, the commandos of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), stormed the complex of Mosul University, and managed to seize large parts of the University complex, including its technical institute and student dormitories, after heavy clashes with the militants, a statement by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC), said.

The elite CTS forces, backed by U.S.-led coalition aircraft, also recaptured the al-Kafa'at neighbourhood, adjacent to the University complex, and raised the Iraqi flags on some of its buildings, leaving some 30 militants killed and destroying three car bombs, the statement said.

Moreover, the CTS troops advanced, in the early morning, into the three neighbourhoods of al-Sadriya, al-Naser and al-Faisaliyah, in the central part of Mosul's eastern side and engaged in heavy clashes with the militants, and managed to free the three neighbourhoods after killing some 25 militants and destroying two car bombs, the statement said.

The troops also reached the eastern bank of the Tigris, in the central and eastern side of the city, and seized the Old Bridge and al-Hurriyah Bridge, which both are partially destroyed, the statement added.

The CTS special forces deployed many of their snipers on the roofs of some buildings, in the University complex during the day, while many of the militants were seen fleeing to the northern neighbourhoods of Mosul's eastern side, where the extremist militants still have presence, according to a CTS Brigadier General, who spoke by telephone, on condition of anonymity.

The recapture of the Mosul University complex is a significant step, as the complex included important headquarters of the extremist group, the officer said, adding that, the next significant target will be the former presidential palaces in the eastern part of the city.

The Iraqi security forces have so far recaptured up to 85 percent of the eastern side of Mosul, locally known as the left bank of the Tigris River, which bisects the city, the officer said.

"The Iraqi forces will retake control of the whole left bank of Mosul city, within the coming three or four days," the officer added.

In the northern front, the army, backed by international aircraft, continued their heavy battles in the neighbourhood of al-Hadbaa, and made a new progress to the adjacent neighbourhoods of Modaraa Aameen and Kafa'at 2, according to the JOC statement.

So far, the soldiers managed to drive out the militants from the northern parts of the three neighbourhoods, leaving 38 militants killed and destroying a booby-trapped car, along with six vehicles carrying heavy machine guns, the statement said.

In the south-eastern front, the Iraqi federal police and soldiers made no advance during the day, but they carried out clearing operations into the recently-freed neighbourhoods of al-Salam, Sumer and al-Sahiron, killing at least 14 militants and destroying four booby-trapped cars, the statement added.

The battles in Mosul came, as the CTS commandos, army and federal police launched, on Dec 29, the second phase of a major offensive to free the eastern side of Mosul.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said in a report issued earlier in the day that, the military operations in Mosul have pushed up to 145,000 civilians to flee their homes in the city, and its adjacent districts, since the beginning of military offensive in Oct, to reclaim the Daesh's largest stronghold in Iraq.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK