Iraqi forces advance in key neighbourhood in Mosul's Old City

Iraqi forces have made rapid advances into west Mosul since the operations began again on the 19th February. Iraqi forces, supported by the international coalition have recaptured more than 16 western Mosul neighbourhoods from ISIS. According to Iraqi Staff Major General Maan al-Saadi of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service, more than a third of the right bank (west Mosul) is under the control of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).

Following the most recent advances inside the city, Iraqi forces have reportedly besieged Islamic State militants around Mosul’s Old City and are edging closer to the historic mosque from where the group’s leader declared a caliphate nearly three years ago. By Thursday morning (16th March), Federal Police and Rapid Response Forces reached points about 500 metres from the centuries-old al-Nuri Mosque. Federal Police drones reportedly destroyed a number of Islamic State (IS) mobile and fixed targets around the Grand Mosque

In addition to the recent advances in the Old City, units from the Iraqi Federal Police managed to liberate the Nineveh Civil Hospital in central Mosul, near the Naft neighbourhood. The most significant recent gain has been the iconic and highly strategic Old Bridge a few days before. Government advances have only been hampered by poor weather and heavy rain.