Iraqi forces retake over a third of west Mosul: commander

AFP , Sunday 12 Mar 2017

Displaced people flee their home, while Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants, in western Mosul, Iraq March 12, 2017. (Reuters)

Iraqi security forces have retaken more than a third of west Mosul from the Islamic State group since launching an assault on the area last month, a commander said Sunday.

"Around more than a third of the right bank (west Mosul) is under the control of our units," Staff Major General Maan al-Saadi told AFP.

Mosul is split by the Tigris River, and its eastern side is referred to as the left bank, while the western is known as the right back.

Iraqi forces launched the operation to retake west Mosul -- the most populated urban area still under IS control -- on February 19, pushing up from the south.

IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes and other support have since retaken most of the territory they lost.

Iraqi forces launched a major operation to retake Mosul in October, recapturing the eastern side of the city before setting their sights on the smaller but more densely-populated west.

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