Islamic State are holding tight to a 500-square-meter (600 square yard) area in Mosul, Iraq. It is only a matter of days until the Iraqi forces take it back from the estimated 300 IS militants. In summer of 2014, Islamic State militants captured Mosul in just days, creating an Islamic caliphate. Even with the small area they have left, a large number of civilians are believed to be trapped as hostages.
07/05/2017 Iraq (ABC News) – Some 300 Islamic State fighters remain in the small patch of territory still controlled by the group in Mosul’s Old City, a senior Iraqi commander said Wednesday.
Lt. Gen. Sami al-Aridi of Iraq’s special forces told The Associated Press that the militants’ hold on Mosul has shrunk to a 500 square meter (600 sq. yard) area. A large number of civilians are believed to be trapped in the IS-run enclave, with around 1,500 fleeing with every 100-meter (yard) advance by Iraqi forces.
Iraqi forces moved to besiege the Old City before launching their attack in order to prevent IS fighters from fleeing to neighboring Syria, but al-Aridi said hundreds of militants still managed to escape from the Old City alone.
“They just shave their beards and walk out,” al-Aridi said. “Just yesterday we captured two among a group of women and children.”