Iraq PM declares victory in Mosul

Iraq PM declares victory in Mosul

The official statement also comes exactly three years after ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had proclaimed a "caliphate" spanning Syria and Iraq from the pulpit of the medieval Grand al-Nuri mosque.

Iraq launched the operation to retake Mosul in October, backed by airstrikes from the USA -led coalition. Some units remain up to 150 yards from the river.

A United States-led global coalition is providing air and ground support to the eight-month offensive to wrest back Mosul.

Without Mosul, Reuters reports IS' presence in Iraq will be reduced to rural and desert areas surrounding the city.

A smiling al-Abadi walked among the soldiers, at one point grabbing an Iraqi flag and briefly draping it across his shoulders.

Isis militants were driven out of the city in northern Iraq this weekend after months of intense battle with Iraqi army.

- January 24: The Joint Operations Command coordinating the fight says the east has been "fully liberated".

Abadi declared on Twitter late last month that "we are seeing the end of the fake (IS) state". Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service, which has spearheaded the assault, said the jihadists now only held a band of territory 100-150 meters deep and 300 metres wide.

But Islamic State's news agency Amaq reported fighters were "holding on" to defensive positions around the district of Maydan.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi congratulated his forces on a "big victory" in Mosul on Tuesday, but the almost nine-month battle to retake the city continues.

Recapture of Mosul would mark the biggest victory for Iraq since Islamic State seized large chunks of the country in a 2014 blitz.

US -backed Syrian forces have pushed into the group's de facto capital, the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, but a final victory there could be months away, and the extremists still hold several smaller towns and villages across Iraq and Syria.

Some two weeks later, Daesh is on its last legs as Iraqi forces are expected to win back full control of the city of Mosul, the Takfiri terrorist group's last urban stronghold in the Arab country in the next few hours.

"The damage in the right bank, compared to the left bank is 30 times more", said Nofal al-Hammad, governor of Nineveh, a city located on the outskirts of Mosul.

IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes have since regained much of the territory they lost.

Mar 14, 2017- Iraqi forces said they had captured the city's train station after reaching other symbolic sites such as the regional government headquarters and the city's museum.

It is estimated that approximately 350 thousand people have been displaced from Mosul, because of fierce fighting.