- Title: Iraqi forces push Islamic State further back in Mosul -military
- Date: 17th January 2017
- Summary: MOSUL, IRAQ (JANUARY 17, 2017) (VIDEO OBTAINED BY REUTERS) MILITARY VEHICLE DRIVING THROUGH STREET IN AL JAZAER DISTRICT OF THE SOUTHEASTERN SIDE OF THE CITY STREET SIGN HEAD OF UNIT SPEAKING TO PERSONNEL ON WALKIE-TALKIE MILITARY VEHICLES HEADING INSIDE AL JAZAER DISTRICT OF THE CITY (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) COMMANDER OF SALAHEDDIN REGIMENT IN IRAQI MILITARY, MAJOR GENERAL HAZEM KAREEM, SAYING: ''There is only a little left and hopefully we will announce the news of the liberation of the left bank of Mosul within the next few days, God willing.'' IRAQI FORCES ARRIVING IN VEHICLES VARIOUS OF FORCES BY VEHICLES VARIOUS OF FORCES WALKING FORCES STANDING ON THE STREET GRAFFITI ON WALL READING (Arabic): ''Islamic State will remain.'' SIGN POST WITH ISLAMIC STATE EMBLEM ON SIDE OF STREET VARIOUS OF RESIDENTS OF NEWLY RETAKEN AREA LEAVING TO A PREVIOUSLY RETAKEN AREA VARIOUS OF PEOPLE LEAVING ON HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE PEOPLE WALKING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED MOSUL RESIDENT SAYING: ''We cannot believe we are standing outside today, for 15 days we have been inside in a 4-meter square room, my family and I, twelve people we did nothing but eat and drink and sleep.'' RESIDENTS SHAKING HANDS TWO MEN HELPING MAN WITH CANE WALK (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED MOSUL RESIDENT SAYING: ''We are leaving to stay in another district just until we make sure it is safe to go back again.'' VARIOUS OF RESIDENTS LEAVING/AUDIO OF GUNFIRE VARIOUS OF PEOPLE SITTING ON IRAQI MILITARY VEHICLE, CARRYING A WOUNDED WOMAN IRAQI COUNTER-TERRORISM FORCE COMMANDER MEETING FELLOW COMMANDERS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) COUNTER TERRORISM SERVICES (CTS) COMMANDER, LIEUTENANT-GENERAL ABDUL GHANI AL-ASSADI, SAYING: ''The northern military convoy only has two or three districts left, districts that are empty of Islamic State after they were defeated and fled to the right bank of Mosul and the biggest number of them have been killed. God willing, it will be only hours before we announce that we have completed our mission on the left bank.'' COMMANDER SPEAKING TO FORCES
- Embargoed: 31st January 2017 23:10
- Keywords: Mosul commander Islamic State Hazem Kareem
- Location: MOSUL, IRAQ
- City: MOSUL, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA0015ZH183R
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Iraqi special forces pushed deeper into Islamic State-held districts in eastern Mosul and army units fought the insurgents inside a military base in the city's north, officials said during the day on Tuesday (January 17).
On Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the military had begun "movement" against Islamic State in the west of Mosul without specifying what action was being taken there.
Three months after the start of the U.S.-backed campaign, Islamic State has been driven out of about three quarters of the eastern districts of its Iraqi stronghold, ceding large areas along the Tigris River, which bisects Mosul from north to south.
Renewed military progress has been made in the last two weeks, thanks to improved tactics and coordination between different military units, U.S. and Iraqi military officials say.
''There is only a little left and hopefully we will announce the news of the liberation of the left bank of Mosul within the next few days, God willing,'' said one commander of a regiment as its forces entered a new district in south-eastern Mosul called Al Jazaer, adjacent to the eastern Nineveh and Souq al-Ghanam districts which have also been retaken.
Advances slowed towards the end of last year as the military tried to avoid hitting civilians, they say, but now the capture of the entire east bank is imminent and will allow attacks in the city's west, still fully held by the militants.
Iraq's elite Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), which has spearheaded advances inside Mosul, holds large sections of the east bank further north from where the federal police operate.
Islamic State has fought from among crowded residential areas and witnesses have seen its fighters shoot at civilians in areas they have lost, in apparent efforts to slow the advance of Iraqi forces.
Several thousand civilians have been killed or wounded in fighting since October.
As the Iraqi forces entered Al Jazaer district on Tuesday, many of the residents trapped inside by the fighting carried their belongings and moved to other previously secured districts.
''We are leaving to stay in another district just until we make sure it is safe to go back again,'' said one resident who did not give his name.
CTS commander Abdul Ghani al-Assadi said he hoped the military would soon announce soon the completion of its mission on the eastern side of Mosul and preparations for retaking the western side.
''The northern military convoy only has two or three districts left, districts that are empty of Islamic State after they were defeated and fled to the right bank of Mosul and the biggest number of them have been killed. God willing, it will be only hours before we announce that we have completed our mission on the left bank,'' Al Assadi said.
The loss of Mosul would probably spell the end of the Iraqi side of Islamic State's self-styled caliphate, which its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared from a Mosul mosque as the militants swept through vast areas of Syria and Iraq in 2014.
The group has carried out a series of attacks elsewhere in Iraq as it comes under increasing pressure in its stronghold.
Special forces have now taken control of the Andalus and Shurta neighbourhoods, where they were fighting on Monday, a CTS spokesman said. A separate military statement said the CTS had also seized al-Muhandiseen district, nearly three miles further northwest, a short distance from the river.
In a parallel advance, Iraqi army troops in the north of the city moved into the Kindi military base, and were fighting insurgents inside, an army officer said.
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