Iraqi special forces are facing “fierce” resistance as they battle the ISIL Takfiri group in southwest Mosul, a commander said on Wednesday.
Iraq launched a major push on February 19 to recapture the rest of Mosul from ISIL, retaking the airport and then pushing up from the south.
Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service is fighting “for the (Maamun) Flats area, which is considered very important for control of the Baghdad road and the surrounding neighborhoods,” Staff Lieutenant General Abdulghani al-Assadi told AFP.
“The resistance is violent and fierce because they’re defending this line and this line, in our opinion, is the main line for them,” said Assadi, a top CTS commander.
ISIL overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces have since regained much of the ground they lost.
Iraqi forces launched a massive operation to retake Mosul — the last ISIL-held city in the country — on October 17, first recapturing its east before setting their sights on the smaller but more densely populated west.