The Iraqi military says it has surrounded Islamic State jihadists in the Iraqi city of Mosul, and the extremist group only controls about 10 percent of the area in the western half of the city.
Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, a spokesman for the joint operations in Iraq, said Tuesday the militants now control only about 12 square kilometers of land in the Old City following a seven-month U.S.-backed campaign to remove the terrorists from Mosul.
“We reassure everyone that, in a very short time, God willing, we will declare the liberation and clearing of west Mosul and raise the Iraqi flag over the Old City,” he said.
U.S. military spokesman John Dorrian said the IS group is completely surrounded in Mosul and “on the brink of total defeat.”
Dorrian said U.S.-backed military strikes have taken out more than 200 tunnels and more than 1,000 fighting positions used by the IS group.
The battle in Mosul has displaced more than 500,000 people, and it is estimated that 250,000 people are still trapped inside the city by IS militants.
As the IS jihadists continue to lose ground, they’ve started using civilians as human shields, and killing those who attempt to flee the city.
Mosul was overtaken in 2014, along with other large swaths of areas in Iraq and Syria, when the IS jihadists claimed it as their caliphate. Since then, much of the area has been retaken.