Islamic State Daesh is on its last legs as Iraqi forces are expected to win back full control of the city of Mosul, the Takfiri terrorist group’s last urban stronghold in the Arab country in the next few hours.
“We are seeing now the last meters and then final victory will be announced,” Iraq’s state TV reported on Saturday. “It’s a matter of hours.”
Fighting currently rages on in Mosul’s densely-populated Old City, where Daesh elements have put up stiff resistance in the face of advancing Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters.
Iraq’s state TV quoted a military spokesman as saying that the militants’ defense lines were collapsing.
Reports coming out of the city say Daesh terrorists are reported to be fighting for each meter with bombers, snipers and grenades, forcing Iraqi security forces to fight house-to-house in the Old city.
“They (terrorists) never surrender. Old Mosul will be their graveyard,” said Iraqi General Abdel Ghani al-Assadi, a commander in Iraq’s elite Counter Terrorism Service.
Another commander, Lieutenant Colonel Haider Hussein, also confirmed that the militants have resorted to bombers in the last areas where they are entrenched.
Sometimes with their families, he said, “they wait in the houses, and when our forces enter, they open fire or blow themselves up.”
Meanwhile, Iraqi commanders estimated that foreigners make up more than three quarters of the remaining Takfiris in Mosul.
“Most of them come from countries such as Algeria, Morocco or Tunisia,” said General Abbas al-Jabouri, a commander of the police Rapid Response force.
Separately on Saturday, Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network, said 35 Daesh elements, who had fled the Old City and were trying to infiltrate into the city’s east, were killed and six others were arrested.
On Friday, an Iraqi federal police officer said clashes left 83 terrorists dead in the same region.
Three Daesh bases were destroyed and a bomb manufacturing factory and a tunnel were uncovered, he added.
Mosul fell to Daesh in 2014, when the terror outfit began its campaign of death and destruction in Iraq.
The Iraqi army soldiers and allied volunteer fighters have been leading the Mosul liberation operation since October 2016. They took control of eastern Mosul in January and launched the battle in the west in February.
The battle for Mosul has already displaced 90,000 people, about half the city’s pre-war population, according to aid organizations.