Islamic State (IS) fighters are completely "trapped" and "the last road out of Mosul" has been cut off, claimed a U.S. envoy Sunday in Baghdad.
More civilians fled their homes in west Mosul on Sunday (March 12) as fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants intensified.
CTS troops stormed the al-Jadida and al-Aghawat districts on Sunday, Saadi said, adding that the militants were showing signs of weakness despite initial "fierce" resistance.
Mosul is split by the Tigris River, and its eastern side is referred to as the left bank, while the western is known as the right bank. Some Iraqi commanders say they'll retake the entire city within weeks.
Federal police and Rapid Response units said they had entered the Bab al-Tob area of the Old City, where the fight is expected to be toughest due to narrow alleyways through which armored vehicles can not pass.
"The battle is not easy... we are fighting an irregular enemy who hides among the citizens and uses tactics of booby-trapping, explosions and suicide bombers", Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said.
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In a separate development, progovernment Iraqi fighters said more evidence has been found of a massacre in 2014 of up to 600 detainees at Badoush prison near Mosul.
James Jeffrey, a former ambassador and distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, was a bit more optimistic about the upcoming fight to defeat ISIS, telling VOA that the US -backed Iraqi forces "have a huge victory coming", in part the beleaguered ISIS fighters are so outnumbered by this point.
Removing the jihadis from Iraq's second largest city - which it has controlled since the summer of 2014 - will effectively spell the end of Isis, as a land-holding force in the country, driving the remnants of the group back to their de facto capital of Raqqa in neighbouring Syria.
ISIS captured Mosul easily - a gang of violent fanatics who claimed to have established a new "Islamic State". "There is no water and there is no food and nothing", said Ghanem Mohamed, one of the residents who fled.
Paramilitary forces have discovered dozens of mass graves containing hundreds of bodies as they battle Isis militants to retake the city from their control.