Iraqi army to announce victory in Mosul "within hours"

Nearly one million Mosul residents have been displaced by the violence

Iraqi army to announce victory in Mosul "within hours"

Fleeing Iraqi civilians walk past the heavily damaged al-Nuri mosque in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, 04-07-2017. Image: AP Photo/Felipe Dana

Reports in Iraq indicate that the country’s security forces will announce victory in Mosul in the coming hours.

Military commanders told Iraqi state television they expect to take full control of the city as ISIS’ defensive lines crumble in the city.

Mosul has been the terrorist group’s capital in the country since it fell in June 2014.

Soldiers have been seen celebrating in the streets ahead of any formal victory declaration, according to the Reuters news agency.

The news comes after an ISIS counterattack on Friday night had reversed territorial gains won by the Iraqi army.

Nearly one million Mosul residents have been displaced by the fighting – with many living in camps outside the city.

The liberation of the city has come at a heavy cost for the local population, with the terrorists known to have used civilians as human shields.

The group has also shot and killed Iraqi residents trying to flee the city according to the United Nations.

Newstalk’s foreign affairs correspondent Shona Murray has been in the city over the past number of days.

Writing yesterday she said the battle for the centre of Mosul was turning into the deadliest of the eight-month campaign to retake Iraq’s second largest city.

It was estimated that several thousand civilians were being held as human shields as the Iraqi army advanced.

In early June the UN reported that 231 civilians attempting to flee the city were shot and killed over a two week period.

“Shooting children as they try to run to safety with their families – there are no words of condemnation strong enough for such despicable acts,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said at the time.

“I call on the Iraqi authorities to ensure that those who are responsible for these horrors are held accountable and brought to justice in line with international human rights laws and standards. The victims of such terrible crimes must not be forgotten.”

Airstrikes undertaken by the US-led coalition attempting to root out the extremists have also caused huge collateral damage in the city – reportedly resulting in the deaths of hundreds of civilians.

This morning, a presenter on Iraqi state television announced that forces are now fighting for the last few meters of territory adding “then final victory will be announced.”

Citing correspondents embedded with state forces the channel claimed it is now “a matter of hours” before the city is returned to government control.