Strikes Continue in Effort to Defeat ISIS in Syria, Iraq

Sir Michael Fallon hails campaign to drive Islamic State out of Mosul

Iraq began a fight last October to take Mosul back, and was supported by a US-led coalition.

- March 12: A U.S. envoy says Iraqi troops have cut all roads into western Mosul, trapping remaining IS fighters inside.

A US-led global coalition is providing air and ground support to the eight-month-old offensive to wrest back Mosul, once the de facto capital of ISIS in Iraq.

Rasoul said "the victory over the IS in the next few hours, after clearing all areas of Mosul (of explosives)".

Mosul was the largest city that came under the clutches of the terror outfit and the battle for the city left thousands of civilians dead and displaced almost one million people besides leaving large areas in ruins.

Nizal acknowledged that many of his men were among those who fled the city when IS forces seized Mosul in 2014 in a humiliating defeat for the Iraqi armed forces.

The Department of Defense has requested $1.269 billion in US budget funds for 2018 to continue supporting Iraqi forces, which collapsed in the face of the few hundred militants who overran Mosul in 2014.

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A United States general told the AFP news agency that the Iraqi military was close to announcing a final victory.

The latest developments come a little more than a week after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared that ISIL's "state of falsehood" had ended after Iraqi forces retook al-Nuri Mosque, where the group proclaimed its self-styled caliphate three years ago. They took the Iraqi security forces by surprise on Friday when they attacked a village south of Mosul killing a number of people, including two Iraqi journalists.

"They never surrender", said General Abdel Ghani al-Assadi, a commander in Iraq's elite Counter-Terrorism Service.

After months of fighting, the Iraqi army officially recaptured Mosul, pushing the last pockets of Islamic State resistance from the city.

USA -backed Syrian forces have encircled and pushed into the Islamic State's de facto capital of Raqqa in neighboring Syria after a month of fighting, although a long battle lies ahead. In a bid to continue supporting Iraqi forces, the Department of Defense has also requested $1.269 billion in USA budget funds.

The agency also reported plumes of smoke over the Old City and decaying corpses of ISIL fighters lying on its streets.

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