Iraqi army pushes to eliminate last IS pockets in Mosul

"Now it is time for all Iraqis to unite to ensure ISIS (IS) is defeated across the rest of Iraq and that the conditions that led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq are not allowed to return again", Lieutenant General Stephen J. Townsend said in a statement. But he says the fight there is now the priority.

The Iraqi government does not reveal casualty figures, but a funding request from the U.S. Department of Defense said the elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS), which has spearheaded the fight in Mosul, had suffered 40 percent losses.

In a report published a day after the Iraqi forces declared victory in city, the human rights watchdog called for a thorough investigation into whether war crimes were committed in the battle for the city.

The BBC's Basheer Al Zaidi in Mosul later said exchanges of gunfire and explosions were continuing to come from the Old City, and that helicopters were carrying out air strikes on IS positions.

Today, Townsend said his team received another report that the ISIS fighters are interested in seriously surrendering, though he didn't have further details on that effort, which was unfolding as he went into the media briefing.

A 100,000-strong alliance of Iraqi government units, Kurdish peshmerga fighters and Shi'ite militias had launched the offensive in October, with key air and ground support from the worldwide coalition.

Also Monday, the United Nations said there was no end in sight to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq despite the conclusion of the fighting.

"All along the front line, there are so many families under the rubble", he said.

Since October 2016, ISIS has carried out a systematic campaign of forced displacement in the Mosul area, moving thousands of civilians from neighbouring villages into districts under ISIS control, with these civilians often used as human shields.

Twenty-eight aid groups working in Iraq issued a statement calling for worldwide support for rebuilding efforts and urged authorities not to press civilians to return. Stuck between the Islamic State and the US -led coalition airstrikes propelling the campaign to save them, many said they had spent weeks with barely any food or water.

"For the expected offensives in Hawijah, Tal Afar and western Anbar, where approximately 1,50,000 civilians are thought to still be trapped, it is vital that lessons are learnt from pass offensives", they said, calling for access to safety and assistance to be prioritised.

Jazayeri offered his congratulations to the Iraqi military and Popular Mobilization Forces over their victory against Daesh and other terrorist groups in Mosul.

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