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Iraqi Troops Push to Retake Mosul From Islamic State

  • VOA News

Iraqi forces advance as they battle with Islamic State militants in western Mosul, Iraq March 13, 2017.

Iraqi troops are battling for control of a bridge over the Tigris river in Mosul as civilians continue to flee the western part of the city.

Capturing the bridge, which links Mosul's Old City with the eastern side, would give Iraqis control of three of the five bridges that span the Tigris in Mosul.

Iraqi forces launched a campaign to recapture Mosul from Islamic State in October. They reclaimed the eastern part of the city before embarking on a major push on February 19 to recapture the more densely-populated western part.

Amid the shelling and machine-gun fire, a steady stream of refugees are fleeing western neighborhoods, joining some 80,000 who have left since the battle to retake the area began last month.

Iraqi troops have effectively sealed off Mosul from the rest of the territory IS controls in Iraq and Syria.

Mosul's fall would deal a significant blow to IS. It would break the militant group's hold on territory in Iraq and end its control over half the "caliphate," which once spanned from northern Syria through western Iraq.

About 600,000 civilians remain trapped with the militants in the Mosul area, according to the International Organization for Migration. IOM said the fighting in the Mosul area has displaced nearly 240,000 people.

Inside Mosul’s Decimated Museum of Antiquities with VOA's Heather Murdock:

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