Iraqi forces recapture central Mosul district: military media


A member of Iraqi security forces takes his position during a battle with Islamic State fighters, in western Mosul, Iraq February 26, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Nineveh ( Iraqi government troops recaptured a district in central Mosul on Sunday, hours after storming it and engaging in fights with Islamic State militants.

The Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell said Counter-Terrorism Forces took over al-Aghawat district, near Mosul’s Old City, a vital target for Iraqi forces battling the extremist group in Mosul in western Mosul since mid February.

Iraqi government forces took over eastern Mosul in January after three months of fighting with IS, and have entered a third week of operations to clear the western region from militants. The troops have become closer to the central Mosul’s Old City, having recaptured major government facilities, a military base and the city’s airport.

Earlier on Sunday, Maan al-Saadi, a senior CTF commander, told AFP that government forces had become in control over at least 30 percent of the western side of the city.

Military leaders from the Iraqi side and the allied U.S.-led coalition had foreseen a tougher battle in western Mosul due to the region’s dense residential areas and the high number of population estimated by 750.000.

The conflict in Mosul has displaced above 250.000 people since operations launched in October 2016. Refugees from western Mosul alone reached more than 99.000 on Sunday.

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