Iraqi forces free new areas from IS in western Mosul

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DUSHANBE, 27.03.2017. /NIAT Khovar/. Iraqi forces gained ground in the western side of Mosul on Sunday, as the troops faced strong resistance from IS militants and heavy casualties among civilians at the battleground neighborhoods, Xinhua news agency reports citing the Iraqi military.

According to the source, the commandos of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) liberated the neighborhoods of Wadi al-Ayn and Rajm al-Hadid in the western edges of Mosul after days of heavy clashes against IS militants.

Elite troops continued their heavy clashes against IS militants in several nearby neighborhoods, as they advanced closer to Mosul's western edge and densely populated old city center, where hundreds of thousands of civilians are believed to be still trapped under IS rule.

Meanwhile, the federal police and elite interior ministry's Rapid Response Brigades continued slow progress in Mosul's old city center by the strong resistance of the extremist militants and the presence of civilians.

Also in the day, the army's 9th armored division freed Badoush cement factory in northwest of Mosul after defeating IS militants, leaving many extremist militants killed, Yarallah said in a separate statement.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also 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 the Tigris River which bisects the city.

Late in January, Abadi declared the liberation of Mosul's eastern side, or the left bank of Tigris, after over 100 days of fighting IS militants.

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

Source: National information agency of Tajikistan