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Destruction in fight to take west Mosul worse than east

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ISIS controlled 40 percent of Iraqi territory in 2014 but that figure is now down to 6.8 percent as of March 31, after extensive military operations, Brig.

Speaking at the same press conference in Baghdad on Tuesday, the spokesman for the US-led coalition vowed that Iraq would not be abandoned after the recapture of Mosul.

IS still controls the large towns of Hawijah and Tal Afar as well as remote areas along the border with Syria in western Iraq.

Fighting in Mosul has been raging since last October and has turned into a deadly, dirty and bloody affair.

"Our forces completely destroyed the command and control headquarters of ISIS terrorists in Mosul's Old City", said police chief Major-General Raed Shaker Jawdat. "And a lot of the reason for that is the coalition airstrikes that have supported our partners as they've taken that territory back".

Rudaw's Sidad Lashkri reported from the Bab al-Baid neighborhood near the Mosque of Zaywani in western Mosul saying that heavy clashes have been underway since early in the morning as ISIS militants have launched a counter-attack against the advancing Iraqi troops. But the push against IS in Western Mosul is bogged down with Iraqi security forces fighting in a warren of small streets in the old part of the city.

"The Iraqi Security Forces continue their advance but it's very, very hard and it's just going to remain so for awhile", Dorrian added.

A security source in northern Iraq's Nineveh province told the Arabic-language Alsumaria News on condition of anonymity, "The leadership of the extremist group threatened to cut both ears if the escapes are repeated".

"It was discussed that while our immediate priority in Syria is the defeat of ISIS, all stakeholders, including Russian Federation, have an obligation to de-escalate the civil war and set conditions for a meaningful political process that ultimately leads to new leadership in Damascus, " the release said.

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