Iraqi forces are pushing into the northern part of western Mosul in a new front of their fight against ISIS fighters. Currently, the Iraqi federal police is just several hundred meters away from the notorious al-Nuri mosque where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made a public appearance in 2014 to declare the terrorists’ caliphate.

The advance of Iraqi forces, comprising of Iraqi army, federal police and elite rapid response units, to the ISIS-held neighbourhoods will not be easy. Some of the problems comes from the narrow streets that surround the mosque. In addition there are still hundreds of thousands people living in the area that under the control of the terrorist group.

In a statement of the spokesman for the Iraq Ministry of Defense it is said that for those battling ISIS  it will be a choice of “victory or martyrdom”.

ISIS occupied Mosul in 2014 and the operation to take it back has started in October 2016. In January this year the eastern part of the city was declared officially “liberated”. According to a US official 774 security forces have been killed since the start of the fight and more than 4,600 were injured.

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