Iraqi forces said on Tuesday (Jun 20) they were fighting fierce battles with the ISIL group and rescuing escaping civilians as they pursued their offensive against Mosul’s militant-held Old City.
Staff Lieutenant General Abdulghani al-Assadi, a senior commander in the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), said the battle was proceeding as expected but that progress was slow.
“Things are good and the battle is going as planned,” he told AFP. “We have many obstacles – the nature of the land, the nature of the construction, the roads and the civilian population – all of which make us slow down our work.”
He said civilians were escaping the Old City, with up to 400 approaching the positions of Iraqi forces on Monday.
Federal police forces said they were moving forward on the southern front of the battle with support from heavy weapons fire and on the northern front had surrounded a hospital.
Iraqi forces launched the operation on Sunday to retake the Old City, the last part of Iraq’s second city still held by ISIL after a months-long offensive.