Iraqis walk down a road as they flee Mosul on March 1, 2017, during an offensive by security forces to retake the western parts of the city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters. AFP / ARIS MESSINIS
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U.S.-backed Iraqi army units Wednesday took control of the last major road out of western Mosul that had been in Daesh's (ISIS) hands, trapping the militants in a shrinking area within the city, a general and residents said. The army's 9th Armored Division was within a kilometer of Mosul's Syria Gate, the city's northwestern entrance, a general from the unit told Reuters by telephone.Iraqi forces captured the eastern side of Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting and launched their attack on the districts that lie west of the Tigris River on Feb. 19 . If they defeat Daesh in Mosul, that would crush the Iraq wing of the caliphate declared by the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2014 from the city's grand old Al-Nuri Mosque.Gen. Rupert Jones, deputy commander for the Combined Joint Task Force said.Army, police, CTS and Rapid Response units forces attacking Daesh in western Mosul are backed by air and ground support from a U.S.-led coalition, including artillery.
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