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ISIS-held ground down from 40 percent to 7, Iraq says

ISIS-held ground down from 40 percent to 7, Iraq says

The Islamic State group now controls less than seven percent of Iraq, down from the 40 percent it held almost three years ago, a military spokesman said Tuesday.

Yahya Rasool, Iraqi army spokesperson, told a news conference that ISIS now controls only 6.8 per cent of Iraq's territory from the 40 per cent it controlled as at June 10, 2014.

Dorrian said the operation to liberate Raqqa is the equivalent in Syria of what's being "done to eliminate the enemy" in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Special anti-terror forces of Iraq have completely liberated the Matahin district in the western part of Mosul from Islamic State (ISIL or Daesh, outlawed in Russia) militants, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah, the chief of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, said Sunday.

"The high civilian toll suggests that coalition forces leading the offensive in Mosul have failed to take adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths, in flagrant violation of global humanitarian law", the group's senior crisis response adviser Donatella Rovera said.

The coalition battling ISIL is made of the Iraqi security forces and thousands of Shi'ite volunteers. Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January and launched the battle in the west in February. "The biggest challenge they face is the civilians".

Last month, a suspected coalition airstrike killed scores and injured hundreds in Mosul's western side.

The full recapture of Mosul, the de facto capital of the "caliphate" IS supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi publicly proclaimed in the city almost three years ago, would effectively end any IS claim to be running a state.

The federal police said in a statement on Tuesday they have been reinforcing their positions in Western Mosul in preparation for a push on the al-Nuri Mosque where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in 2014.

ISIS has used hundreds of vehicle bombs along with drones rigged with explosives in Mosul. Its fighters have pulled civilians into the conflict by placing snipers in residential areas, using civilians as human shields and executing those who try to escape, coalition spokesman Col. John Dorrian said at the news conference. "They aren't going anywhere".