Iraqi forces were consolidating their gains south of Mosul on Tuesday ahead of moving into the city’s ISIS-held western half, a military spokesperson said, as civilians fled along the front line to government-controlled areas.
The remarks came on the third day of what is expected to be the definitive push to rout the ISIS group from Iraq’s second-largest city.
The spokesman of the Joint Military Operation Command, Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, told The Associated Press that nearly 123 square kilometers - about 47 square miles - have been taken south of Mosul since the new push started on Sunday.
The troops now fully control the strategical hill of Abu Saif overlooking the Mosul airport as well as the Hamam al-Alil intersection on the main highway into the city, Rasool said.
Elite Iraqi forces have moved to join the regular army and the security forces on the ground, he added, but would not say what the next steps would entail.