Iraqi forces advance further in IS-held western Mosul

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DUSHANBE, 06.03.2017. /NIAT Khovar/. Iraqi forces on Monday pushed further inside the western side of Mosul and freed a new neighborhood as they advance toward the old city center amid fierce clashes with Islamic State (IS, banned in Tajikistan) militants, Xinhua reports citing Iraqi military.

Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) commandos liberated Sumoud neighborhood in the southwestern part of the city after heavy clashes with IS militants, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah, from the Joint Operations Command, said in a statement.

CTS special forces have initiated a new push at the edges of the adjacent neighborhood of Mansour, Yarallah said.

Meanwhile, federal police and interior ministry special forces, known as Rapid Response, are engaged in street-to-street fighting against IS militants in the neighborhoods of Dandan and Dawassa, in the southern part of Mosul's old city center.

The battles in the old neighborhoods of downtown Mosul bring the troops closer to some main government buildings in Dawassa neighborhood.

The recapture of Sumoud neighborhood came a day after Yarallah announced a new push in the western side of Mosul, locally known as the right bank of Tigris. The advance came after a two-day pause due to bad weather that had limited air support by Iraqi and international coalition aircraft.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, announced the start of an offensive on Feb. 19 to drive extremist militants out of the western side of Mosul, locally known as the right bank of Tigris River, which bisects the city.

Late in January, Abadi declared the liberation of the eastern side of Mosul, or the left bank of Tigris, after more than 100 days of fighting against IS militants.

Mosul, 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under IS control since June 2014.

Source: National information agency of Tajikistan