A third of east Mosul recaptured from ISIL, says spokesman
BAGHDADIraqi forces have recaptured more than a third of eastern Mosul four weeks into the battle to retake the city from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Iraqi Interior Ministry’s spokesman Saad Maan said Nov. 15.
“More than a third of this [eastern] side has been liberated,” Maan said at a televised news conference, according to AFP.
Meanwhile, Iraqi special forces pushed deeper into Mosul on Nov. 16, backed by U.S.-led airstrikes but under attack by rockets and suicide bombers from ISIL.
Troops have established a foothold in the city’s east, and earlier in the day, drove northward into the Tahrir neighborhood, where families left their houses to flee the fighting, The Associated Press reported. Mortars from ISIL-held territory wounded at least five children trying to flee the fighting, who were evacuated by the troops.
Away from the front lines, Iraqi forces on Nov. 16 assessed the damage to the ancient site of Nimrud, a town some 30 kilometers (19 miles) southeast of Mosul. Iraqi troops entered Nimrud on Nov. 13 in what was the most significant gain in several days for government forces.
Maj. Gen. Dhiaa al-Saadi, the deputy commander of Iraqi ground forces who oversaw the operation, said ISIL has almost completely destroyed the town’s ancient Assyrian archaeological site.
As the operation to retake Mosul progresses, al-Saadi said he expects to find more ruined heritage.
“We have information that all of the archaeological sites inside Mosul have already been destroyed,” he said.
The late 1980s discovery of treasures in Nimrud’s royal tombs was one of the 20th century’s most significant archaeological finds. The government said the ISIL militants, who captured the site in June 2014, destroyed it the following year, using heavy military vehicles.