Iraqi forces have entered the eastern outskirts of the city of Mosul for the first time in their efforts to drive ISIS from the city in the Battle for Mosul. A BBC correspondent states they are facing fierce resistance as they push into the city. This is the first time Iraqi forces have stepped foot inside the city in over two years.
Troops entered the city through Gogjali, a neighborhood inside Mosul’s city limits on the eastern side. An Iraqi general told reporters that the brunt of the fighting lays ahead of them as they approach the city center. He told reporters:
“[ISIS] is fighting back and have set up concrete blast walls to block off the Karama neighborhood and our troops’ advance,”
The Iraqi army was driven out of the city in 2014 by ISIS fighters but intend to reclaim the city. Iraqi troops are still as far as six miles from the city center. Iraqi artillery, tank, and machine gun fire is being used to subdue ISIS forces as the Iraqis approach. ISIS has responded with deadly anti-tank missiles and small arms fire.
Despite continuing to put up a fight U.S. Col. John Dorrian states the U.S.-led coalition, which includes the Iraqi troops, have ISIS on their heels. He states that ISIS troops can no longer move in large numbers due to the fear of a strike from the coalition. He said during a press conference:
“And when we see them come together where there are significant numbers we will strike them and kill them,”
Civilians have been seen in the city, or feeling from the city, flying white flags in hopes of avoiding the war fighting. Civiilans are being evacuated from the city and surrounding villages and placed in a displaced person camp, according to Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil of the Iraqi special forces.