Mosul win in sight as ISIS defence lines collapse

Amnesty International has called for a commission to probe crimes against civilians in Mosul. AFP  Mohamed El-Shahed

The group, however, still controls territory in Iraq and is expected to revert to more conventional insurgent tactics such as bombings as its self-proclaimed caliphate falls apart.

"PM Al-Abadi arrives in Mosul to announce its liberation and congratulate the armed forces and Iraqi people on this victory", a description of the photo said.

According to the official, dozens of snipers have been deployed by the Iraqi Army along the Tigris River in an effort to abort any Daesh attempt to attack Mosul's eastern side.

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.

The United Nations predicts it will cost more than US$1 billion (S$1.38 billion) to fix basic infrastructure in Mosul.

The retaking of Iraq's cultural jewel came after a gruelling almost nine-month battle to retake the northern city after three years of rule by the jihadists.

Of course, government forces have a couple of times announced imminent victory since the fight for Mosul began in earnest in November.

The victory announcement came after state TV reported that troops had reached the Tigris riverside and raised the Iraqi flag there.

However the ISIS Amaq news agency claimed "fierce fighting" was ongoing around the Maydan district. But in the last ten months, ISIS was forced to retreat under pressure from Iraqi government troops.

In Mosul, security forces killed 74 militants.

The US Department of Defense requested $1.2bn in US budget funds for 2018 to continue supporting Iraqi forces.

Haider al-Abadi was quoted as saying he "congratulates the fighters and the people on the big victory" in the key city.

The Iraqi army, with backing from the United States military which has conducted air strikes, has been locked in a fight for the city since October previous year.

"For children and their families to process these horrors and rebuild their lives, psychological support will be absolutely crucial", said Ana Locsin, Save the Children's Iraq country director.

Mosul, 400 km north of Baghdad, is under IS control since June 2014 when government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions. And the fighting over the last several months has left the city severely damaged.

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