Iraqi forces retook around two thirds of the Eastern half of Mosul from ISIL since the start of an offensive in mid-October, a top commander said Sunday.
“From East Mosul… more than 60 percent” has been retaken from ISIL, said General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, a top commander in Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), the Daily Star reported.
He was speaking from his headquarters Northeast of Mosul, where ISIL has in control since June 2014 after seizing the city.
Iraq’s elite CTS forces are the best-equipped, best-trained and most seasoned forces in the country but the going has been tough since Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the beginning of an operation to retake Mosul on Oct. 17 last year.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians remain inside Iraq’s second city, forcing Iraqi and allied forces to take precautions and slowing their advance.
CTS and other forces more recently deployed inside the city have been moving house-to-house, dodging sniper fire, suicide car bombs and booby traps to retake one neighborhood after another.