Iraqi forces attack IS, push deeper into east Mosul area

Iraq Christians tell tales of survival in the'caliphate

As the battle grinds on, Iraq's paramilitary forces have been fighting ISIS militias in areas west of the city as they seek to pave the way for Iraqi troops to enter Tal Afar, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) west of Mosul.

Intricate reliefs that once stood at the gates to the magnificent Assyrian palace lay in pieces: stone carvings of a face, half of a claw, part of a wing, fragments of script.

An Iraqi special forces fighter moves between buildings near the front line during fighting with Islamic State militants, in eastern Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016.

"We have information that all of the archaeological sites inside Mosul have already been destroyed", he said.

The goal for the use of child soldiers by ISIS is quite clear: to prepare them for suicide missions when the city is breached by the Iraqi Army.

Fragments of the winged bulls - or lamassus - which stood at one of the palace entrances are strewn in a field.

"This was done by people who don't have a place in humanity", said Maj.

Iraqi counter-terrorism forces breached Islamic State defenses in east Mosul two weeks ago but have faced resistance from the militants, who have fought back with suicide auto bombs, snipers and waves of counter-attacks.

Children have been previously seen in Islamic State videos carrying out executions of prisoners.

"More than a third of this (eastern) side has been liberated by the military forces".

"We will continue to strike the enemy for as long as it takes for the Iraqi flag to be raised over Mosul and every other corner of this country", he said, adding that the coalition had conducted more than 4,000 strikes with warplanes and artillery since the campaign began.

On Wednesday, heavy fighting broke out in Tahrir, where an IS suicide auto bomber disabled an Abrams tank belonging to the Iraqi army.

"By capturing Tel Afar airbase, the Iraqi forces have cut off a main ISIS supply route between Syria and Mosul", Iraqi Army officer Hamid Saadi told ARA News.

Ministry spokesman Ibrahim Tahsin said 2,801 terrorists had been killed by the Iraqi military and coalition forces since the campaign began on October 17.

"It's actually important that the enemy know that and that ISIL [knows] that we intend and will destroy them", Carter said at a forum hosted by The Atlantic Magazine and the venture capital firm 1776, according to the Washington Examiner. Rudaw later said a 3-year-old girl died in the attack while three other children were wounded.

Meanwhile, due to poor weather and cloudy skies, Iraq special forces on Thursday paused temporarily in their push into Mosul but still faced deadly attacks from ISIL, also known as ISIS, including a suicide auto bombing.

Fierce clashes were underway outside the Tal Afar military airport, said Hezbollah Brigades spokesman Jaafar al-Husseini, without elaborating.

The Shiite militias are leading an assault to drive IS from Tel Afar, which had a majority Shiite population before it fell to the militants in the summer of 2014. The claim could not be independently confirmed.

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