Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi during a visit to the joint opreations central command
(IraqiNews.com) Baghdad, Nineveh – Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has voiced optimism regarding the outcome of security operations seeking to liberate the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants, but local officials say fear for civilians’ safety is slowing down operations.
In a statement by his office on Tuesday, Abadi said that operations in Mosul were “faring well”, adding that “victory over terrorist ISIS gangs is near.” The statement followed a visit by Abadi to the joint operations’ central command.
But in Nineveh, the province’s council said operations are slowing down due to the existence of civilians at the center of the city.
“It is the families remaining at central Mosul that slows down the military progress towards the city; the security forces had taken the protection of innocent people during the battles upon their shoulders,” said Ali Khodeir, a member of Nineveh’s council, in a statement Almaalomah. He added that migration by the families of restive areas was ongoing.
He, however, pointed out that most troops had made “remarkable and quick progress at most of the combat axes in Nineveh.”
Iraqi forces and popular militias have been in remarkable victories since operations to retake Mosul kicked off in mid October.