Published: Tue, March 14, 2017
Science | By Guadalupe Butler

Mosul IS battle: 'Remains of prisoners' found at mass grave site

Mosul IS battle: 'Remains of prisoners' found at mass grave site

The Iraqi military said that forces from the Hashed al-Shaabi - an umbrella group of pro-government forces that are dominated by Iran-backed Shiite militias - were among the units that recaptured the prison from the jihadists.

Iraqi coalition forces, supported by a US-led worldwide coalition, have succeeded in retaking the side of the city east of the River Tigris that cuts through it, and 30 per cent of west Mosul, after more than 100 days of bitter fighting.

"The Iraqi Federal Police and the Rapid Response Force have now infiltrated 200 meters inside the Bab al-Toub area of Mosul's old city".

Iraqi forces are fighting the Islamic State in western Mosul after declaring the city's east "fully liberated" in January.

Iraqi General Abdul Amir Rashid Yarallah said that Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) troops pushed towards the edges of the Old City, which is densely populated and in control of the jihadists.

Saadi said CTS forces were battling IS inside the Mosul al-Jadida and Al-Aghawat areas in west Mosul on March 12.

According to Human Rights Watch, ISIL gunmen executed up to 600 inmates from the prison on June 10, 2014, forcing them to kneel along a nearby ravine and then shooting them with assault rifles.

Displaced Iraqis who had fled their homes wait to move to a safe place, in western Mosul. It has been losing ground in both countries, with three separate forces, backed by the United States, Turkey and Russian Federation, advancing on its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.

The Iraqi army's ninth division and Shia paramilitary forces said on Wednesday they had cut the main road between the city and the Islamic State stronghold of Tal Afar to the west, tightening a noose around the city.

More than 215,000 persons are now internally displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas following the military operations which began in October 2016, according to the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR.

Brett McGurk, the senior U.S. official in the counter-IS coalition, issued the warning after Iraqi forces cut off the last road out of the city, trapping IS fighters inside.

The army was forced to retreat earlier this week after trying to take the government buildings with too few men, so repeating a mistake that caused the deaths of up to 100 troops at the al-Salam hospital, on the eastern side of the city, in December.

Removing the jihadis from Iraq's second largest city - which it has controlled since the summer of 2014 - will effectively spell the end of Isis, as a land-holding force in the country, driving the remnants of the group back to their de facto capital of Raqqa in neighbouring Syria.

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