Suspected ISIL gas attack kills 4 in Iraq's E. Mosul
Apr 19 2017
Isis has lost more than three-quarters of the territory it seized when it swept across Iraq in the summer of 2014 - leaving in control of just seven per cent of the country the Iraqi military has said.
Yahya Rasool, Iraqi army spokesperson, told a news conference that ISIS now controls only 6.8 per cent of Iraq's territory from the 40 per cent it controlled as at June 10, 2014. At that time, the jihadist group controlled more than 40 percent of Iraq.
Meanwhile, the federal police and interior ministry special forces, known as Rapid Response, continued their battles on the southern and western front lines at the edge of the old city center, a security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
In January, Iraqi forces drove ISIL terrorists from eastern Mosul as part of a wide-ranging campaign launched late past year to retake the city, which ISIL overran in mid-2014.
"The high civilian toll suggests that coalition forces leading the offensive in Mosul have failed to take adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths, in flagrant violation of global humanitarian law", the group's senior crisis response adviser Donatella Rovera said. "They aren't going anywhere - they will be defeated and the people of Mosul will be free", he said.
"Once that task is accomplished, the coalition will be here to support our Iraqi partners as they eliminate Daesh from every corner of Iraq", Col. John Dorrian said.
The coalition has come under criticism following the deaths last month in west Mosul of scores of civilians in an air strike it admitted may have been its own.
In this context the Iraqi general said that the Iraqi forces are relying on infantry forces, in order to avoid civilian casualties. "We never, ever target civilians", Dorrian said.
But even if ISIL members are targeted, the fact that they are operating in areas still home to large numbers of residents means that civilians can easily still end up the victims.
In Syria itself, it also holds the city of Raqqa and other areas.