Iraqi government forces are continuing to make gains in Mosul after retaking the seat of the government, Daesh’s last major stronghold, today.
Forces have also restored control over Mosul’s main museum – from which the terror group filmed themselves smashing ancient artefacts – and the city’s Al-Hurriya bridge, close to the old city where hundreds of thousands of civilians remain.
- civilians are trapped in Mosul
After today’s gains, Iraqi forces are now in a better position to attack Daesh in the old city, where the Al-Nuri mosque is located. In 2014, Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi made his only public appearance to declare a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, from the Al-Nuri mosque.
An estimated 650,000 civilians are trapped in the city. Some 45,000 have tried to flee in the last week alone but Daesh has been targeting civilians with snipers and explosions as they leave.
Daesh captured Mosul in June 2014 when it controlled nearly a third of Iraq. At the time Iraqi forces fled their bases and left behind US-made military vehicles, which Daesh used in their offensive.
Iraqi forces launched a battle to retake Mosul in October 2016 and regained control of the eastern part of the city in January. Last month they set their sights on the western part of the city, which houses the largest number of civilians still under the control of the group.
According to the International Organisation for Migration, over 206,000 people have been uprooted since October last year.