Iraqi forces approach iconic Grand Mosque in the Old City of Mosul

In the Battle for Mosul, Iraqi Security Forces advance towards the al-Nuri Grand Mosque in the west as ISIS defences weaken.

Recent indications suggests that there are only 2,000 remaining ISIS militants in the terrorist group’s last stronghold in Iraq after reports that foreign fighters fled to Syria, while a high number has been killed in fighting.

“ISIS is breaking,” said Colonel Khairullah al-Abadi for the Iraqi Federal Police fighting in Mosul. “There is little resistance. There are some snipers, light weapons, and they are using car bombs but we are ready to repel any car bomb attack against our military units.”

Ongoing operations in the Old City of Mosul are considered to be the most difficult phase in liberating the western side of the city. Narrow streets prevent the access of Iraqi forces’ heavy machinery, while the densely populated neighbourhoods means that considerable care must be taken to ensure their safety amid clashes with ISIS.

“We have now entered the Old City of Mosul, which is one of the most difficult areas,” explains Lieutenant General Haidar Yusuf, also of the Iraqi Federal Police. “It consists of very random, narrow streets. Our forces left their vehicles and were able to walk and enter the Old City of Mosul.”

Iraqi forces faced ISIS reprisal attacks during the poor weather that hit Mosul last week. Operations were paused for a short period, before resuming the campaign over the weekend.