An Iraqi rapid response member stands guard near the field hospital, as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants, western Mosul, Iraq March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Iraqi troops retake strategic region in western Mosul from IS

Mar 15, 2017, 6:00 pm

Nineveh ( Iraqi government troops and allied paramilitary groups retook Wednesday a major region in western Mosul from Islamic State militants, adding to earlier victories made in the region over the past few days.

The Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell quoted the Joint Operations Command saying that the army’s 9th division, backed by paramilitary groups, completely recaptured the region of Badush, northwest of Mosul.

The statement said the development put government forces and allied groups in total control over the western bank of the Tigris River, which bisects Mosul.

Badush town, northwest of Mosul (Google Maps)

The victory in Badush comes hours after consecutive accomplishments in central Mosul, with Iraqi forces announcing taking over 90 percent of the Old City and 60 percent of the western region.

Iraqi forces recaptured eastern Mosul in January after three months of fighting, and since starting a new offensive in the west last month, they have recaptured several areas around Badush, including the town’s infamous prison where IS executed hundreds of inmates in 2014.

Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition generals had predicted the battle for Mosul to conclude in six months, but Iraqi premier Haider al-Abadi said Tuesday operations were entering their last stages.