Mon, Feb 20, 2017 | updated 02:19 PM IST

ISIS fighting hard to keep control of stronghold Mosul

Updated: Nov 19, 2016 22:09 IST

New York [United States], Nov. 19 (ANI): The battle to recapture Mosul from ISIS by Iraqi-led forces has been raging on for a month and the terror group is willing to go to almost any lengths to keep hold of it, as Mosul is their last major stronghold in Iraq.

ISIS is using everything from suicide bombs to booby-trapped toys in its desperate fight against the Ira Iraqi-led forces

According to Iraq's former foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, the conflict is "not a conventional war,"

"They put them on the road, in the houses. We liberate a village and they are everywhere -- people come back to their homes, open a door or even a refrigerator and it blows up," CNN quoted Brig. Gen. Bajat Mzuri of Zeravani Special Forces as saying.

An estimated 100,000 troops comprising Iraqi soldiers, Peshmerga fighters, Sunni tribal paramilitaries and Christian and Turkmen militias are involved in this battle but not all are leading the fight against the ISIS.

U.S. and others have carried out hundreds of airstrikes in support of the coalition.

Iraqi-led forces entered Mosul on November 3 following more than two weeks of fighting their way across the plains to the east of the city, through nearby towns and suburbs.

The ancient Assyrian village of Nimrud has been liberated by the Iraqi-led forces.

ISIS militants last year had largely destroyed historic artefacts in the Assyrian village of Nimrud.

A key airbase near Tal Afar, 70 kilometres (43 miles) west of Mosul has been recently recaptured by the Hashd al Shaabi paramilitary forces.

The coalition is facing fierce resistance by the ISIS inside Mosul.

Peshmerga spokesman Brig. Gen. Halgurd Hikmet said this week that "for ISIS, Mosul is survival" they will not give the city up easily.

Countless grim discoveries have been made by coalition fighters which include mass graves, bodies stuffed into wells and others hanging from lampposts, all bearing out to ISIS's brutal resolve.

About half of the city's 2 million residents fled away when ISIS took the control of Mosul in 2014, however many stayed on in fear of leaving their homes for an uncertain future.

ISIS used hundreds of people living in villages controlled by it as human shields against Iraqi led troops.

The Iraqi Security Forces have urged civilians to stay where they are by using radio broadcasts and airdropping leaflets into the city.

Citizens celebrated their liberation in outlying villages where ISIS forces have been routed by shaving off their beards and smoking as these things were banned while their homes were under ISIS control.

According to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 59,000 people have been displaced since the start of the Mosul offensive.

Meanwhile, as the Iraqi led forces are close to capture Mosul from the ISIS, it is expected that key members of the terror group may fled away to the terror group's Syrian heartland, in and around Raqqa.

Another fight to repair the damage caused by the terror group will begin once the city is fully liberated. (ANI)

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