Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press that Islamic State militants no longer have "the gut or motivation to fight" like they previously did, and that Iraqi forces could soon retake Mosul.
An alleged Islamic State group collaborator who was captured by the Iraqi forces sits inside a military humvee, in the Samah front line neighborhood, in Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016.
Iraqi government and Kurdish forces surround the city from the north, east and south, while Popular Mobilisation forces - a coalition of Iranian-backed Shi'ite groups - are trying to close in from the west. "Progress was faster at the start. The reason is we were operating before in areas without residents", Asadi told Reuters in Bartella, on Mosul's outskirts.
"Inside Mosul, we are handcuffed by the presence of civilians", an Iraqi general lamented to The Wall Street Journal.
Local official Hussam al-Abar said: "The maintenance team can not reach the pipeline because it lies in an area being fought over. Daesh (Islamic State) is not based in one location, but moving from here to there", he said.
"Tanks don't work here, artillery is not effective", a commander said. He said ISIS floods the streets with civilians when his forces enter, stopping the deployment of heavy munitions.
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The Iraqi government and various humanitarian organisations has been sending trucks loaded with food and clothes into liberated areas of Mosul.
Meanwhile, many people in Mosul - especially the poverty-stricken - were reportedly having a tough time arranging for two square meals a day because of rising food prices.
It's not like urban warfare is a surprise in invading Iraq's second largest city, however, and while the failures underscore Iraq's military limits, they also suggest profound mistakes in the US-led planning of the invasion.
Yet poor families in Mosul are already struggling to feed themselves as the battle intensifies, and others are hoarding and hiding food, a top United Nations envoy warned.
But while Iraq has witnessed an impressive string of territorial victories against IS under al-Abadi, the country is in many ways more divided politically than ever. Their supplies and communications to the outside world are cut.
Doctors in the main hospital treating trauma victims from the battle for Mosul say they are overflowing with casualties, both civilians and soldiers.