Iraqi forces face fierce Islamic State combat in south Mosul
Iraqi Counterterrorism Forces Break ISIL's Defense Lines, Win Back More Lands
Spokesman of Iraq's Counterterrorism Department Sabah al-Nauman disclosed that the country's joint military forces have seized back several new areas in the early stages of the second phase of the Mosul Liberation Military Operation.
"The ISIL's defense lines in the Western part of the city of Mosul have been demolished and new areas have come under our forces' control in the beginning of the second phase of Mosul liberation operation," al-Nauman told FNA on Saturday.
He underlined that the main aim of the second phase of the Mosul liberation operation is to take full control of the remaining districts of Western Mosul.
In a relevant development earlier on Saturday, Iraq's joint military forces continued their advances in the Eastern part of the city of Mosul, and seized back a new strategic district there.
The Iraqi forces took full control of the ISIL-controlled al-Qods al-Sanieh district in Eastern Mosul city.
Several terrorists were killed and wounded in fierce clashes with the Iraqi army and its allies.
Meantime, the Iraqi forces advanced further into Sumer and Jadideh al-Mufti districts in Eastern Mosul, killing 25 ISIL terrorists in tough battle.
Also on Saturday, Iraqi Federal Police Commander Major General Raed Shaker Judat announced that several more ISIL terrorists, including four senior commanders, have been killed in fierce clashes with the country's joint military forces.
"At least 10 ISIL terrorists, including four notorious commanders, were killed in tough battle with the Iraqi government forces," the Arabic-language media quoted General Judat as saying.
He, meantime, said that the Iraqi forces continued their advances in the city of Mosul, adding, "Over 66 ISIL terrorists have been killed in the Iraqi Federal police's military operations."
General Judat also said that hundreds of families in Mosul city have been transferred to military camps from al-Entesar and Shahrzad districts of the city.
On Thursday, the Iraqi security forces began the second phase of the Mosul operation in a number of Eastern and Southeastern districts of Mosul city, following a major halt of the offensive for much of December.
Iraqi Federal police initiated the advance on the districts of Somar, Saha, Intisar, and the industrial area on the left bank of Mosul, General Yahya Rasul, the spokesperson for the Iraqi Joint Command said, Baghdad Post quoted security officials as saying.
Also, Abdul-Ghani Al-Asadi, commander of the Iraqi Counterterrorism Forces (ICTF) told Iraqi media that the fresh offensive begun at 7:00 am on Thursday.
He said his forces have entered the eastern district of al-Quds, and made “progress” in the early hours on Thursday morning.
A military statement for the Nineveh operation said that the Iraqi army, the federal police and the ICTF are taking part in a joint operation to “fully liberate the left bank of Mosul”.
An officer from the rapid response forces told Reuters news agency that they are pushing from the Southeastern district of Intisar.
"Our troops now are advancing. In the first five or 10 minutes they took 500 meters. Just now they are starting to shoot," the rapid response officer said, an elite force under the command of the Iraqi interior ministry.
The commander of the Golden Division, Fazil Barwari, earlier told Rudaw that he expects to liberate the East side of the city by New Year ’s Eve.
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UNSC to Vote on Draft Resolution on Syria on Saturday
UN Security Council will hold a meeting behind closed doors on Saturday and vote on the draft resolution proposed by Russia in support of ceasefire in Syria, the Russian Permanent Mission to UN said.
The draft resolution was distributed by the Russian delegation on Thursday evening and officially presented at the UN SC meeting on Friday, Tass reported.
The document envisages support for a ceasefire agreement in Syria reached with mediation of Russia and Turkey and stresses "the importance of their full and immediate implementation." The draft resolution also mentions the upcoming talks in Astana between the Syrian government and opposition.
After the meeting behind closed doors on Friday, Russian Ambassador to UN Vitaly Churkin told reporters that the discussion was useful and constructive, and that UN SC members "proposed several recommendations on improving the text of the draft." He noted that the Russian delegation is ready to take into account these proposals and will submit the document for voting.
On December 29, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced reaching agreements on ceasefire in Syria and on readiness of Syrian government and opposition to start peace talks.
Three documents were signed: between Syrian government and armed opposition on ceasefire on the territory of Syria; on the package of measures to control the observation of ceasefire; the declaration of readiness for starting peace talks on Syrian settlement.
Syrian Armed Forces announced halting military actions on the whole territory of the country starting from 12 a.m. local time.
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