Tabnak – As the Iraqi forces continue their advances toward ISIS’ last positions in Mosul’s old city, it appears that the rein of the terrorist group in Iraq has actually come to an end. In this vein, it is reported that the Iraqi forces have managed to take complete control of the old city.
According to a report published by Press TV, Iraqi government forces have wrested complete control over the Old City of Mosul, which served as the last bastion of ISIS terrorists in the Arab country’s second largest city.
The spokesman for the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, Brigadier General Yahia Rasoul, announced on Saturday that army troops had regained control over the strategic area, where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the extremists’ self-styled "caliphate” back in July 2014.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that ISIS militants vowed to "fight to the death" in Mosul on Saturday as Iraqi military commanders said they would take full control of the city from the terrorists at any moment.
The report adds that dozens of Iraqi soldiers celebrated amid the rubble on the banks of the Tigris River without waiting for a formal victory declaration, some dancing to music blaring out from a truck and firing machineguns into the air.
Associated Press writes in a separate story that the terrorists hold less than one square kilometer of territory, but have been using civilians as human shields, making it nearly impossible for the warplanes to flush them out.
However, Earlier on Saturday, a military spokesman said the terrorists’ defense lines were collapsing, state television reported. "We are seeing now the last meters and then final victory will be announced," a presenter said.
Meanwhile, a local source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network that a dozen ISIS terrorists died in three Iraqi Air Force strikes that targeted their convoy in the city of Tal Afar, located 63 kilometers west of Mosul.
ISIS seized Mosul in a lightning offensive on June 10, 2014 before sweeping across much of the country's heartland and proclaiming a "caliphate" straddling Iraq and Syria.
The Iraqi forces launched their campaign to recapture Mosul in October, and since then ISIS has gone from holding the entire city to being trapped between security forces and the Tigris River on its western side.
Although everyone is now waiting for the formal declaration of Mosul liberation, observers warn that the recapture of Mosul will not mark the end of the threat posed by ISIS, which holds territory elsewhere in Iraq and is able to carry out frequent bombings in government-held areas. The group’s foothold in neighboring Syria is indeed another cause of concern.