By AFP – Jan 09,2017 – JORDAN TIMES
Displaced people flee during a battle with Daesh militants in Al Zuhoor neighbourhood of Mosul, Iraq, on Sunday (Reuters photo)
ERBIL — Iraqi forces battling extremists in Mosul reached the Tigris River that divides the city Sunday, a key step and a first since the launch of a huge operation in mid-October.
The Daesh terror group was on the back foot in Mosul after a week of significant gains for Iraqi forces, but pressed a deadly campaign of bombings in Baghdad, where two more attacks killed 18 people.
Elite Counter-Terrorism Forces (CTS) took control of the eastern end of the southernmost bridge in Mosul, a morale-booster in a 12-week-old operation that has encountered many difficulties.
CTS forces “reached the Tigris River from the eastern [side] of the fourth bridge,” Sabah Al Noman told AFP. The news was also confirmed by Iraqi army Staff Lieutenant General Abdulamir Yarallah.
Tens of thousands of Iraqi forces launched an offensive on October 17 to retake Mosul, the last major urban centre in Iraq still controlled by the group that seized around a third of the country in 2014.
Several areas around the city, Iraq’s second largest, were swiftly reconquered, but the elite forces that pushed into the streets of Mosul itself have faced stiffer than expected resistance.