Iraqi Special Forces Liberate Matahin District of Mosul From Daesh Militants

Posted April 15, 2017

The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) now controls less than seven percent of Iraq, down from the 40 percent it held during 2014, an Iraqi military spokesman said Tuesday.

Months later, the Iraqi security forces backed by tens of thousands of Shiite and Sunni volunteers, known as Hashd Shaabi paramilitary units, and with the air support provided by global coalition led by the United States, the troops managed to recapture most of Iraq's key cities, towns and villages from the IS group.

"After they used to control 40 percent, they now control only 6.8 percent of Iraq's territory", said Iraqi Brig.

Iraqi forces launched the operation to retake west Mosul - the most populated urban area still under Daesh control - on February 19, pushing up from the south. Since then, the coalition forces have removed the IS militants from several towns and cities.

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The coalition battling Islamic State is made up of tens of thousands of members of the Iraqi security forces, led by the army, and thousands of Shi'ite volunteers, many from militia groups, commonly referred to as the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).

The extremist group is still fighting desperately to keep its last major stronghold in the western side of Mosul, as well as smaller areas in Tal Afar, Hawija in northern Iraq, Qaim and Aana near the border with Syria in the western province of Anbar.

Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes and other support are now battling ISIL inside second city of Mosul, after retaking much of the other territory the group had seized.

"Our troops are very cautious in their advance", Rasool told reporters in Baghdad.

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Col. John Dorrian, a US spokesman for the coalition, said the fight for western Mosul has been "difficult".

"Do not lose sight of the fact that even though the fighting is going to be very hard, this enemy is completely surrounded", Dorrian said.

Meanwhile, Rasoul said that the military operations in west Mosul are going on according to the command's plan.

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