Iraqi Forces Push Further Into ISIS-Held West Mosul

  • Iraqi Forces Push Further Into ISIS-Held West Mosul

Iraqi Forces Push Further Into ISIS-Held West Mosul

A 100,000-strong force of Iraqi military units, Shiite forces and Kurdish terrorists, backed by a USA -led coalition, have fought since October in the intensive Mosul campaign.

While the noose is tightening around the jihadists still in Mosul, the city's recapture would not spell the end of ISIS.

The fighting has driven people from the city.

The pro-government paramilitary organisation said it had found "a large mass grave containing the remains of around 500 civilian prisoners in (Badush) prison who were executed by (IS) gangs".

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report that as many as 600 people were killed in the Badush prison massacre, which took place on the same day that Daesh militants captured Mosul in June 2014. The account was verified in a separate United Nations report.

Iraqi archaeologists believe that tunnels underneath a shrine in eastern Mosul which was destroyed by ISIS militants have revealed the palace of an ancient Assyrian king. The leaflets advised residents to hang white flags or sheets outside their homes to indicate civilians are inside.

The JOC also said forces from the Rapid Response Division, another special forces unit, and the federal police were also attacking the Bab al-Toub area on the edge of Mosul's Old City.

Losing Mosul would be a major blow to Islamic State.

The Shia militia, known as the Popular Mobilization group, is politically powerful and have provided crucial backing to security forces.

Shi'ite militias which are part of the Mosul campaign began to close in on Tal Afar late past year, after the offensive was launched, and said they linked up with Kurdish terrorists nearby to encircle the jihadists.

But that still leaves 2,500 militants alive, and clearly many are ready to fight to the death.

The Iraqi military and its allies have almost defeated Islamic State in its final and largest Iraqi stronghold of Mosul.

The few thousand militants still fighting in west Mosul are overwhelmingly outnumbered by a 100,000-strong array of Iraqi forces, but their ruthless tactics east of the Tigris river late past year enabled them to hold out much longer than the government's initial optimistic predictions.

"We don't have an exact number of how many victims and we don't know who these victims are".

As an array of forces dismantle Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate across Iraq and Syria, more evidence is emerging of the war crimes committed by the Sunni Islamist militants, who targeted Shi'ite Muslims and religious minorities as well as opponents from their own sect.