0401 GMT January 22, 2018
"Around more than a third of the right bank (west Mosul) is under the control of our units," Staff Major General Maan al-Saadi, of Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), said on Sunday.
Saadi also noted that CTS forces were currently fighting in the western Mosul areas of al-Jadida and al-Aghawat, stressing that the battle was expected to be completed shortly.
The commander, however, admitted that advancing against terrorists was difficult.
"We are not able to leave pockets (of militants) behind us; therefore, the advance includes taking control of areas and searching and clearing them and security checks on the citizens," he said.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC) announced that forces from the Rapid Response Division and the federal police were attacking the Bab al-Toub area on the edge of Mosul’s Old City.
JOC spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said the terrorists were "still relying on explosives-rigged vehicles and … bombers and snipers" in a bid to slow the Iraqi advance.
He also ensured that the Mosul liberation operation was being conducted with precision to preserve the lives of Iraqi citizens, adding Daesh resistance "has begun to weaken in a big way.”
Abdul-Amir Rashid Yar-Allah, the commander of the military operations in the Nineveh Province, said the Iraqi forces had recaptured a village in the east of Badush viallge, northwest of Mosul, and hoisted the national flag over buildings in the area.
On Saturday, Iraqi fighters from pro-government Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi, found a mass grave at Badush prison, which contained the remains of at least 600 people killed by Daesh.
Iraq's Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters uncover mass grave of hundreds near Mosul
Mosul fell to Daesh in 2014, when the terror outfit began its campaign of death and destruction in the Arab country.
Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters launched the offensive to retake Mosul, Daesh’s last major city stronghold in the country, last October.
Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January and launched the battle in the west last month.