Iraqi military units recaptured a heavily populated neighborhood in Mosul’s Old City on Friday, dealing a blow to Islamic State fighters still holding out there.
The Iraqi army’s counter-terrorism unit secured the Islah al-Zeraee district, Iraqi News reported. The area includes large civilian populations, a school and a hospital that had been under Islamic State control.
Members of the Iraqi army joined by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militias have laid siege to Mosul in a bid to retake the nation’s second-largest city back from IS control. Government-aligned forces retook the eastern half of Mosul in January and have steadily pushed west of the Tigris River, which bisects the city.
Iraqi army officials have said they are now in control of 90 percent of Mosul.
Meanwhile, in fighting west of Mosul, Shiite militias said they have continued their push to take control of land close to the Syrian border, cutting off a vital supply route that had been under IS control. The area had been used to traffic arms, supplies and fighters between Iraq and Syria.
The mainly Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi group said it hoped to retake control of the region over the next two to three days, Rudaw reported. Fighters were laying siege to the IS-held city of Tal Afar, near the Syrian border. They said they had liberated several villages near the city, which has a population of nearly 200,000.
By Eric DuVall