Mosul, Iraq. Another day of pitched fighting between ISIS forces and Iraqi government forces as the climax of the ISIS defeat is the daily forecast, at least according to Baghdad.
Iraqi Army Staff Lieutenant General Abdulamir Yarallah made a statement saying that army troops had raided neighborhoods in the vicinity of Mosul’s Old City, so did federal police members.
The fall of the city would, in effect, mark the end of the Iraqi half of the so-called “caliphate” declared nearly three years ago by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which also covers parts of Syria.
Amid battles launched by Iraqi forces to retake control over ISIS-held Old City of Mosul, reports said that an Iranian top Revolutionary Guard general was killed in battles near Syrian borders. Later on, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander was reported killed in an explosion during clashes west of Mosul, an Iraqi official said.
Iranian General Shaaban Nasiiri was an adviser to Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force. This is a special forces unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards responsible for their extraterritorial operations, the Quds Force reports directly to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei.
Large numbers of Iranian soldiers and offices are expected to have been killed during clashes, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.About 700,000 people, about a third of the pre-war city’s population, have already fled, seeking refuge either with friends and relatives or in camps.
The United Nations expressed deep concern for the hundreds of thousands of civilians behind ISIS lines, in a statement on Saturday from the organization’s under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Stephani O’Brien.