1034 GMT August 20, 2018
Dozens of soldiers celebrated amid the rubble on the banks of the Tigris River without waiting for a formal victory declaration, some dancing to music blaring out from a truck and firing machineguns into the air, Reuters reported.
The mood was less festive, however, among some of the nearly one million Mosul residents displaced by months of combat, many of whom are living in camps outside the city with little respite from the blazing summer heat.
A US-led international coalition is providing air and ground support to the eight-month campaign to wrest back Mosul, by far the largest city seized by Daesh in 2014.
Almost exactly three years ago, the ultra-hardline group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared from Mosul a "caliphate" over adjoining parts of Iraq and Syria.
A military spokesman cited by the TV said the terrorists’ defense lines were collapsing. Iraqi commanders say the terrorists were fighting for every meter with snipers, grenades and suicide bombers, forcing security forces to fight house-to-house in the densely populated maze of narrow alleyways.
Dozens of terrorists were killed on Saturday and others tried to escape by swimming across Tigris, state TV said.
"The battle has reached the phase of chasing the insurgents in remaining blocks," the Iraqi military media office said in a statement. "Some members of Daesh have surrendered," it added.
The road where the soldiers celebrated was scarred with gaping holes from explosions and rubble from a flattened multi-storey shopping mall. Rubbish and ammunition boxes were strewn around and there was no sign of civilians.
Months of urban warfare has displaced 900,000 people, about half the city's pre-war population, and killed thousands, according to aid organizations.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of Daesh State's "state of falsehood" a week ago, after security forces took Mosul's medieval Grand al-Nuri Mosque – although only after retreating terrorists blew it up.
Stripped of Mosul, Daesh’s dominion in Iraq will be reduced to mainly rural, desert areas west and south of the city where tens of thousands of people live. The terrorists are expected to keep up attacks on selected targets across Iraq.
The United Nations predicts it will cost more than $1 billion to repair basic infrastructure in Mosul. In some of the worst affected areas, almost no buildings appear to have escaped damage and Mosul's dense construction means the extent of the devastation might be underestimated, UN officials said.