Destruction in fight to take west Mosul worse than east

There is only a "shrinking cordon" in Mosul where ISIS can operate, Dorrian said.

Since late February, 292,000 people have been forced to flee west Mosul, with 362,000 people uprooted by fighting in both east and west Mosul.

Two men came to ask Dr Alomary what they should do with the remains of several relatives who were among dozens of civilians killed in an air strike by the USA -led coalition on the western Mosul Jadida district last month.

The U.S. military has said a U.S. -led coalition strike had hit an Islamic State-held area where residents and officials say as many as 200 civilians may have been killed.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the commander of USA forces in Iraq and Syria, confirmed in an interview today that he still wants more ground troops in Syria, saying the troops would be needed to "fight ISIS," and adding that he hoped the invasion of Raqqa would be "underway by this summer".

"It is very complicated". The Iraqi counterterrorism service and federal police are pressing more deeply into the dense, urban terrain along the Euphrates River and the old part of the city, Dorrian said, while elements of the Iraqi army continue clearing territory to the north and west of the city center. "The terrain literally changes from neighborhood to neighborhood. the nature of the enemy, how the population reacts".

An Iraqi forces' vehicle drives past destroyed buildings in Mosul's al-Jadida area on March 26, 2017, following US-led airstrikes that killed civilians.

"Nothing has changed in terms of air support".

"It's clear that their (Islamic State) competence, their cohesion and their effectiveness continues to wane over time", he said.

"They've two years to build it", he said, adding that those defenses in western Mosul have included tunnels, off-the-shelf drones, snipers and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs).

"Don't underestimate the ammunition", Martin said.

"They have really two choices: they can surrender to the Iraqi security forces, or they're going to be killed", he said. "Prime Minister [Haider] Abadi's been very clear on that, and it's been an enduring principle of the campaign throughout". The fight to push ISIS out of the city, the second-largest in Iraq, has been raging since mid-October 2016.

Iraqi officers have said snipers have slowed them down in western Mosul in the biggest ground operation in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

  • Leroy Wright