Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi Federal Police forces took are almost taking over Zanjili district in western Mosul, pushing closer to the Islamic State-held Old City, the service’s commander sid Friday.
Lt. Gen. Shaker Jawdat said his forces were controlling 90 percent of Zanjili district, and were advancing along 10 kilometers in neighboring al-Shifa. Both districts are the last two around the medieval Old City, IS’s last bastion in Mosul from where the group declared in 2014 the establishment of its rule in Iraq and Syria.
Jawdat said his forces had also evacuated tens of civilian families from both areas to safer zones under security control.
Iraqi government troops regained control over eastern Mosul in January after three months of fighting. Operations for the western side of the city launched in mid February, and Iraqi generals say a few hundreds of IS fighters remain in the Old City as a last refuge.
Iraqi forces began late April to advance towards the enclave from the northwest, having besieged it from the south for weeks to no avail.
At least 200.000 civilians are believed to remain in IS captivity in the Old City, and the United Nations said recently that IS systematically shot dead fleeing civilians, killing more than 200 since May 26th,
“Credible reports indicate that more than 231 civilians attempting to flee western Mosul have been killed since 26 May, including at least 204 over three days last week alone,” the U.N. human rights office said in a statement on Thursday.