Small Wars Journal

ISIS Reduced to Less Than 5 Percent of Its Former Iraqi Capital

Tue, 07/04/2017 - 8:46am

ISIS Reduced to Less Than 5 Percent of Its Former Iraqi Capital by Paul D. Shinkman - U.S. News & World Report

The Islamic State group controls less than 5 percent of the western half of Mosul as of Monday in an area less than a square mile, military officials say, reducing what was once its self-proclaimed capital in Iraq to a besieged island of extremists encircled by troops loyal to Baghdad.

Forces from the elite Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service, the federal police, the regular Iraqi army and the Emergency Response Division have fully surrounded the extremists in the old part of Iraq's second-largest city and are fighting through the winding, narrow streets to root them out of their remaining entrenched positions, Air Force Brig Gen. Andrew Croft said in a phone interview with U.S. News from the U.S.-led coalition headquarters in Baghdad.

"All those forces are now turned and focused all on an axis on ISIS from what we call 'Old Mosul,'" says Croft, deputy commander for air operations in Operation Inherent Resolve, using an alternative name for the Islamic State group. "It becomes very difficult to attack into that because it's just such a concentrated mass of buildings."

Despite the continued hard fighting, the Iraqi security forces, or ISF, scored a major coup in liberating the al-Jumhuri hospital complex in west Mosul over the weekend, Croft says, with buildings that comprise some of the highest territory in the city…

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