Iraqi forces recapture new neighborhood from IS militants

American medical volunteers attend to a civilian casualty of the battle to retake Mosul from Islamic State militants at the the Samaritan’s Purse field hospital in Bartella Iraq. Situated on the outskirts of Mosul

"IS controlled 40% of Iraqi land" in 2014, Brigadier-General Yahya Rasool told reporters.

"Though the fighting is going to be very hard, this enemy is completely surrounded", said Col. John Dorrian, spokesman for the USA -led coalition.

About the USA -led coalition's coordination with Iraqi forces in Mosul operations, al-Alusi said: "Poor weather conditions in the region have reduced airstrikes of the global coalition's warplanes on Daesh-linked sites in western Mosul". ISIS is using vehicle-borne bombs, direct and indirect fire, and human shields to slow that advance, he added. "The enemy has intensified their exploitation of civilians by moving them in large numbers into harm's way", he said.

The fact that the Iraqi government is making gains against IS militants illustrates how its intelligence apparatus has improved against IS, says Hisham al-Hashimi, a security analyst in Baghdad who advises the government on Sunni militant groups.

In February, Iraqi ground forces - backed by the US -led coalition's air power - began fresh operations aimed at ousting Daesh from western Mosul, the terrorist group's last bastion in northern Iraq. "But our forces and the Iraqi security forces continue to make progress". "Their ability and capability became stronger and more developed" since the jihadists shocked Iraqi security and intelligence forces with their lightning offensive in June 2104, says Mr. Hashimi.

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The spokesman said "incremental" to describe the slow, careful progress is simply "an accurate discussion of what's happening".

"Prime Minister Haider Abadi's been very clear on that, and it's been an enduring principle of the campaign throughout" he said. "They are going lose and the Iraqis will win".

Meanwhile, the federal police and interior ministry special forces, known as Rapid Response, continued their battles on the southern and western front lines at the edge of the old city center, the source said.

Any addition of more USA ground troops to Syria will likely be far more controversial now, as the U.S. attacked Syrian government targets just last week, and the administration continues to talk up the idea that further attacks could happen in the near future.

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