Iraqi government forces have reportedly managed to wrest complete control over a strategic neighborhood in the western part of Mosul as they are engaged in joint operations with volunteer fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units to purge Daesh terrorists from the country’s second largest city.
The commander of Nineveh Liberation Operation, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah, said on Saturday that soldiers from the Federal Police, elite Rapid Response units of the Interior Ministry, the 34th Armored Brigade, the 9th Armored Division, the 73rd Infantry Brigade and the 15th Infantry Division had liberated Third Haramat neighborhood, and are now advancing towards 17 Tamuz district, Arabic-language al-Forat news agency reported.
Separately, the director for Daesh public properties affairs in Tal Afar, identified as Abi al-Bara al-Qahtani, has stolen millions of dollars, and fled the area along with three of his close aides.
A local source, requesting not to be named, said the defectors had escaped to an unknown location.
Iraqi government forces also reclaimed full control over Hawi al-Kanisah neighborhood in the western and southern banks of the Tigris River.
Furthermore, the media bureau of the Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, announced that the pro-government fighters had cut off the road linking al-Qirwan region to the mainly Izadi-inhabited Sinjar town.
Hashd Sha’abi fighters also recaptured Tal Ezzo, Tal Ha’et, Mohamed Zeid, Hozeil and Tal Banat villages in Qirwan west of Mosul and near the border with Syria following intense clashes with Daesh Takfiris.
Over 630,000 people displaced amid Mosul battle: UN
Meanwhile, the United Nations says more than 630,000 people have been displaced in and around Mosul ever since Iraqi government forces and their allies began military operations last October to win back the strategic northern city.
“This includes more than 434,000 displaced from western Mosul since mid-February,” Andrej Mahecic, senior external relations officer at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said on Friday.
He added, “Six months into the Mosul offensive, the UNHCR remains concerned about the continuing massive displacement. Despite enormous risks, the number of people fleeing west Mosul shows no sign of slowing down.”
“The risk to people fleeing Mosul is now very great, with people having to move despite being in grave danger. People speak of conditions that are desperate and worsening. Families arriving from west Mosul report heavy bombing and fighting,” the senior UN official pointed out.
Mahecic stated that the people fleeing western Mosul had told the UNHRC that the city lacked basic services such as food, water, and fuel.
Iraqi army soldiers and popular fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units have made sweeping gains against the Takfiri elements since launching the Mosul operation.
The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.