U.S.-backed Iraqi forces are closing in on government buildings long held by the Islamic State group in the city of Mosul, according to Reuters.
Iraqi forces are within firing range of Mosul’s main government buildings, a major target in the recent offensive to rid ISIS fighters from the western side of the city. After 100 days of fighting, Iraqi forces captured the eastern side of Mosul in January.
“Within the next six months I think we'll see both [the Mosul and Raqqa campaigns] conclude,” said U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, Commander of Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S. military campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
On Feb. 19, Iraqi forces began the offensive across the Tigris River into districts on the western side of Mosul.
ISIS fighters have been using sniper fire, mortars, suicide bombs and booby traps to counter the offensive. Civilians caught in the violence were fleeing the fighting into government held territory, often under fire as they tried to escape. Others were forced to head deeper into ISIS territory in order to avoid being harmed.
Roughly 14,000 people have been displaced from the recent fighting in the western half of the city so far. More than 175,000 have been displaced from Mosul since the offensive began in October, according to the United Nations.