Destruction in fight to take west Mosul worse than east

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Anti-terrorism forces affiliated the Iraqi army clashed for more than 13 hours until Thursday noon with Daesh militants in the neighborhood, which is regarded as one of the most important strongholds of the terror group in the western part of the city, Police Capt. Iraqi Security Forces are "are advancing very carefully and cautiously in order to protect lives of civilian populations", he said on Thursday.

Mosul, 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under IS control since June 2014, when government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.

Dorrian said this in a statement by the U.S. Department of Defense.

At least 13 civilians were killed by a US -led coalition airstrike in western Mosul on Wednesday, according to a local Air Force pilot.

U.S., coalition and partner forces are edging toward victory in the campaign to defeat Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorists in and around Raqqa, Syria, and Mosul, Iraq, the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman told Pentagon reporters Wednesday.

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He described ISIS use of civilians as human shields as "a despicable tactic, and unfortunate, and heartbreaking" adding "but it is something that we're seeing". "With each passing day the number of ISIS fighters in Mosul goes down, the amount of resources they have available to continue their mayhem goes down and, ultimately, they are not going anywhere and they are going to be defeated".

Colonel Dorrian said the fight in Western Mosul had been tough but said IS fighters had no escape. Presently they have second and third-level leaders left.

The combination of "explosives, booby traps, snipers, the use of civilian shields", he emphasized, "just makes it very slow and hard going".

Meanwhile, the federal police and interior ministry special forces, known as Rapid Response, continued their battles on the southern and western front lines at the edge of the old city center, the source said. "Prime Minister [Haider] Abadi's been very clear on that, and it's been an enduring principle of the campaign throughout".

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