Iraq forces make Mosul gains, but anti-IS war far from over


Noting that almost half a million people have fled Mosul since the start of military operations to retake the city from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da'esh) terrorists, a senior United Nations humanitarian official in Iraq warned that the scale of the displacement has stretched relief efforts to their "operational limits".

After securing the eastern part of the megapolis earlier this year, fighting in heavily populated west Mosul was expected to turn into a tough challenge for Iraqi forces due to the city's narrow alleyways and streets which does not allow for armored vehicles and tanks to go through.

- February 19: Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announces the start of the campaign for western Mosul, with Iraqi forces backed by coalition air power and increased support from coalition advisers.

The coalition has said it "probably" played a role in civilian casualties in Mosul, while residents have been caught up in fighting between Iraqi forces and IS, and the jihadists are intentionally attacking civilians in the city.

"Mosul has pushed us to our operational limits", said Grande.

It is unclear how exactly the two group may work together, Allawi said.

More news: Russian, Iranian presidents denounce USA strikes against Syria

Senior mufti Abdullah al-Badrani, also known as Abu Ayub al-Atar, reportedly died after his location was bombed by the US-led coalition, which was backing government forces, on Thursday (13 April).

Islamic State blazed across large swathes of northern Iraq in 2014, leaving the Iraqi central government reeling.

The Tabqah strike that took place on Tuesday amounted to the third strike within a month in which USA -led airstrikes were linked to the death of civilians and or allies despite the Pentagon's investigation regarding two previous strikes which killed numerous civilians located in a Syrian mosque and Iraqi building west of Mosul.

"The troops controlled the group's network of tunnels, in the South of the city, that is used as an alternative headquarters by the leaders", he added.

"The Daesh terrorist gangs tried to block the advance of our forces by using shells filled with toxic chemical material, but the effect was limited", Iraq's Joint Operations Command said in a statement, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

The battle for western Mosul is very different from the one in the east and so is the consequent impact on civilians.