Iraqi government forces have managed to liberate another neighborhood in Mosul from the clutches of the Daesh Takfiri terrorists as they try to push the extremists out of their last urban stronghold in the country.
The commander of Nineveh Liberation Operation, lieutenant general Abdul Amir Yarallah, said on Friday that soldiers from the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) had recaptured Wadi al-Hajar area in the western flank of the city, located some 400 kilometers north of the capital, Baghdad, Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network reported.
Yarallah added that government forces raised the Iraqi flag over several buildings in the area after inflicting heavy losses on Daesh ranks and their military equipment during the operation.
Wadi al-Hajar lies just northwest of Mosul International Airport.
Moreover, a local source, requesting not to be named, said a high-ranking Daesh militant commander and one of his bodyguards have been killed in an airstrike in the city of Tal Afar, situated 63 kilometers west of Mosul.
The source added that Daesh has established many defensive lines on the outskirts of Tal Afar to confront Iraqi security forces and pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units - commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi.
Lieutenant Colonel Nazzem al-Juqaifi, the intelligence commander of Hashd al-Sha’abi forces in Haditha, also told al-Sumaria television network that Daesh militants had fired a number of Katyusha rockets at the western Iraqi city. No immediate reports of casualties were available.
Thousands of civilians flee Mosul clashes under cover of night
Meanwhile, thousands of civilians have fled Mosul overnight with major Saif Ali saying that huge crowds of civilians began pouring into Mosul’s western neighborhood of Ma’moun from neighboring districts just after midnight.
Ali said civilians in western Mosul are becoming increasingly desperate as food and water supplies begin to run out.
“In total 7,000 people fled through this area last night. We were up all night trying to control the crowds,” he said.
Nearly all the internally displaced families had been moved out of Ma’moun neighborhood by late morning, living behind clothing and blankets piled up in empty lots and on street corners.
On February 19, Iraqi government troops and Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters mounted a new offensive to liberate western Mosul.
International aid organizations have warned of the mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of civilians from western Mosul.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says some 8,000 people have fled western Mosul since the Iraqi forces launched their operations to rid that part of the city from Daesh terrorists.
The UN humanitarian aid agency announced on Tuesday that it was increasing its displacement camps to cope with the rising number of those escaping the battlefield.