Erbil – The Iraqi security forces on Friday made new advances in eastern Mosul, taking several key buildings from ISIS after a slow-down in the operation in December last year.
The Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service raised the Iraqi flag above the Nineveh Governorate and Counsel buildings as well as structures at Mosul University on the east side of the city Jan. 13, 2017, the US-led coalition reported in a statement.
“We’re few streets from ISIS and explosions shaking our bones as Mosul University is retaken. Historic moment for friends here!” said Jeremy Courtney , the cofounder and executive director of the Preemptive Love Coalition (PLC).
The Iraqi security forces launched on Thursday an assault on Mosul University, one of the most important ISIS bases in eastern Mosul.
“Rapid advances in east Mosul with ISIS terrorists dead or fleeing. Iraqi forces entering university complex. More to follow,” Brett McGurk, US coalition official and anti-ISIS envoy said on Friday.
“We congratulate the Iraqi Security Forces on their continued progress in Eastern Mosul,” said Combined Joint Task Forces Operation Inherent Resolve Spokesman, Colonel John Dorrian. “Work still needs to be done but ISIS’s days in Mosul are quickly coming to an end.”
“The Iraqi Security Forces have made significant progress clearing the East side of Mosul since they reinitiated offensive operations to liberate the city,” the coalition official said.
The Iraqi Security Forces joined their three axes and successfully pushed ISIS to the Tigris River, “liberating several neighborhoods and thousands of people from ISIL’s brutal captivity,” Dorrian added.
The fall of Mosul University is seen by analysts as a major blow to ISIS propaganda efforts. The organization was using the university to propagate their ideology, according to Rasha Al Aqeedi, an Iraqi Research Fellow at Al Mesbar Studies and Research Center said.
“However, the battle of Mosul is far from over. The West side is still controlled by ISIS, and it is bound to be bloodier than the past 3 months fighting for the East side,” Aqeedi told ARA News.
“A number of neighborhoods in the East side have not yet been declared liberated, but they are relatively large areas with considerable inhabitants. About 85-90% of the East side is no longer under ISIS control,” she said.
There were fears the Sunni majority population of Mosul would not welcome the Shia-dominanted Iraqi security forces in Mosul, but so far the reaction has been welcoming.
“There were legit fears, but the ISOF have been highly professional. From every family member and friend I have spoken to so far, there has been only appraisal for the forces,” Aqeedi told ARA News.
“Having said that, it remains unclear how the military conduct in the West will be. Overall, Maslawis – in my opinion- have overcome sectarian fears, but these sentiments can be stoked and re-energized,” she concluded.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News
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