IRAQI FORCES MAKE SWIFT ADVANCE INTO DAESH STRONGHOLD IN MOSUL

MOSUL, Iraq, The Iraqi government forces on Saturday made swift advances in the fighting against the Daesh militants in the eastern side of the city of Mosul, the Iraqi military said.

In the northern front, the army soldiers, backed by the U.S.-led coalition aircraft, freed the neighborhood of al-Hadbaa and the nearby Modaraa Aameen and raised the Iraqi flags on some of their buildings after intense fighting with Daesh militants, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah from the Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a statement.

The latest advance in the two neighborhoods linked the army soldiers to the commandos of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) who are fighting in the adjacent complex of Mosul University, Yarallah said.

In the eastern front, the CTS continued their sporadic clashes with small pockets in the sprawling complex of Mosul University, while the troops carried out an operation to defuse roadside bombs and booby-trapped buildings, Yarallah added.

On Friday, the elite CTS forces stormed in the morning the complex of Mosul University and managed to seize large part of the University complex, including its technical institute and student dormitories, after heavy clashes with Daesh militants, according to a JOC statement.

Earlier in the day, a source from CTS command anonymously told Xinhua that the CTS special forces recaptured several government buildings, including the building of Nineveh's provincial council, in al-Faisaliyah neighborhood after the troops defeated Daesh militants in the neighborhood in sporadic clashes during late Friday and Saturday morning.

Also in the day, Yarallah said in an earlier statement that the federal police and army soldiers retook control of the whole southern part of the eastern side of Mosul after the troops freed Yaremja neighborhood after defeating the defensive lines of Daesh militants.

The latest progress confirms that the forces, which advanced from southeastern Mosul, have fulfilled their mission and are carrying out clearing operations in the freed areas to defuse booby traps and to chase possible presence of Daesh militants, Yarallah said.

Brigadier General Mohammed al-Jubouri from the JOC told Xinhua by telephone "the Iraqi forces have recaptured some 90 percent of the neighborhoods of the eastern side of Mosul, locally known as the left bank of the Tigris River which bisects the city.

"The remaining neighborhoods are all surrounded and recapturing them is a matter of time," Jubouri said.

The battles in Mosul came as the CTS commandos, army troops and federal police launched on Dec. 29 the second phase of a major offensive to free the eastern side of Mosul, locally known as the left bank of the Tigris River which bisects the city.

Last month, battles in Mosul had been slowed as extremist militants used locals as human shields, resorted to suicide car bombs and made mortar and sniper attacks in stiff resistance.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Oct. 17 announced a major offensive to retake Mosul, the country's second largest city.

Since then, Iraqi security forces, backed by international coalition forces, have inched to the eastern fringes of Mosul and made progress on other routes around the city.

Mosul, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under Daesh control since June 2014, when Iraqi government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling Daesh militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK