Mosul now 90 percent liberated, Pentagon says

The Islamic State has been driven out of 90 percent of Mosul and fighters are now confined to an ever-shrinking area of the old city, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Iraqi forces, backed by coalition airstrikes, have been making steady progress in retaking areas of the western part of the city, with difficult block-by-block fighting.

Despite the tough urban terrain, the operation is "going quite well," said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

Last week, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis described a change in tactics authorized by President Trump, which was designed to surround and annihilate ISIS, leaving no avenue of escape.

"The intent is to prevent the return home of escaped foreign fighters," Mattis said Friday. "Those foreign fighters are a threat. So by taking the time to deconflict, to surround and then attack, we carry out the annihilation campaign so we don't simply transplant this problem from one location to another."

That describes the situation in western Mosul, where ISIS forces are surrounded on all sides and control only a small area of the overall city, which it once claimed as its capital in Iraq.