Iraqi forces have entered the Daesh-held city of Mosul for the first time since major operations began to liberate the Takfiri terrorists’ stronghold in Iraq.
Members of Iraq’s elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) battled their way into the city’s eastern Karama neighborhood on Monday and are currently engaged in clashes with the terrorists, said General Wissam Araji.
“They have entered Mosul…They are fighting now in Hay al-Karama,” he was quoted by Reuters as saying.
Entry into the city itself marks a new stage in the battle for Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and Daesh’s self-proclaimed headquarters in the Arab country, which is now in its third week.
“The battle of Mosul will not be a picnic,” said Hadi al-Amiri, the head of Iraq’s Badr Organization.”We are prepared for the battle of Mosul even if it lasts for months,” he added.
Earlier, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command announced that the CTS had launched a three-pronged offensive towards the eastern borders of Mosul.
According to officials, Daesh has been using car bombs in and around the city to hinder the government troops’ advance.
Surrender or die: Abadi to Daeshis
During a Monday visit to the frontline of the operations, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that Iraqi forces are currently attempting to close off all escape routes for the several thousand Daesh militants remaining in Mosul.
“God willing, we will chop off the snake’s head,” he said during an interview with state television. “They have no escape, they either die or surrender.”
Syrian Daesh corpses shipped back to Raqqah
Meanwhile, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has reported that so far 480 Syrian Takfiri terrorists have been killed in the operations to liberate Mosul.
“This will raise the death toll to at least 480 Syrian fighters killed in the ranks of the Daesh since the start of the battles in the Mosul area, among them more than 300 child soldiers from the ‘lion cubs of the caliphate,” said the UK-based observatory.
The army and aligned forces have liberated over a hundred villages and districts around Mosul since the beginning of the operation on October 17.
Since the beginning of the operations, the Iraqi army, backed by volunteer forces, has been engaged in a large military offensive to cleanse Mosul of Daesh terrorists. The city fell in 2014 when the terror group started ravaging the country, naming Mosul as its so-called headquarters in Iraq.