Officer says army took over Mosulís Old City entrance, IS trapped

Iraqi army forces managed on Thursday to take over a main entrance to western Mosulís Old City, Islamic State militantsí last refuge in the city.

Saleh Harz, commander of the 34th brigade of the armyís 9th division, said in statements quoted by Almirbad website saying forces had taken over the Bab Sinjar area, effectively severing all routes to the Old City and putting militants under a consummate siege. Harz added that the coming 48 hours will see forces invading the district.

No confirmation of Bab Sinjarís recapture has yet been made by the defense ministry or the Joint Operations Command.

Due to the impassable streets of the Old City, the 9th divisionís armored vehicles will stop at besieging the area, leaving the invasion to infantry forces from the army, the Counter-Terrorism Service and the Rapid Response forces.

Iraqi commanders have recently said that a few hundred IS fighters remained in the Old City, the groupís last refuge in western Mosul from where the group first declared the establishment of its rule over a third of both Iraq and Syria in 2014.
Iraqi government forces recaptured eastern Mosul in January and pushed towards the western side of the city in mid February.

Forces are also sweeping through neighboring al-Shifa district, an area with major health and medical facilities.