Commander: Iraqi Forces Reaching ISIL Last Havens in Western Mosul, Militants Set Sewers on Fire

Iraqi Federal Police Chief said his forces are now in control over 291 square kilometers of Western Mosul as operations running since February reach the ISIL last havens in the city.
The Police Chief, Shaker Jawdat, said Thursday that his forces had also evacuated 270.000 civilians since operations launched in February 19th to retake Western Mosul, Iraqi News reported.

“The group resorted to submerging sewage networks at the south of 17 Tamuz with petroleum and setting it on fire in order to prevent our drones from tracking its defeated members towards the Old City,” Jawdat stated.

The Iraqi Joint Operations Command said Tuesday its forces took over 89.5 percent of territories in Western Mosul, adding it had killed more than 16000 militants since the launch of Mosul operations in October.

Some generals were quoted saying they predict the city to be free before the end of this month.

Iraqi government forces are eyeing the ancient, densely structured and populated Old City, the place where ISIL’s ringleader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the establishment of an “Islamic Caliphate” in 2014.

Troops besieged the area for weeks from the South, but turned to the Northwestern axis to invade the city earlier this month. ISIL fighters are believed to have been holding hundreds of thousands at that area as human shields.