MOSUL, Iraq, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi government forces on Saturday retook control on the southern part of the eastern side of Mosul after intense fighting with Islamic State (IS) group, the Iraqi military said.
The federal police and army soldiers made fast advance in the morning and freed Yaremja neighborhood and the remaining parts of nearby neighborhoods in the southern part of the eastern side of Mosul after defeating the defensive lines of IS militants, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah from the Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a statement.
according to the statement, the latest progress confirms that the forces which advanced from southeastern Mosul have fulfilled their mission and are carrying out clearing operations in the freed areas to defuse booby traps and to chase possible presence of IS militants, Yarallah said.
In the eastern front, the commandos of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) recaptured the remaining part of Mosul University complex and carrying out clearing operation to defuse roadside bombs and booby-trapped buildings, Yarallah said in a televised statement.
On Friday, the elite CTS forces stormed in the morning the complex of Mosul University and managed to seize large part of the University complex, including its technical institute and student dormitories, after heavy clashes with IS militants, according to a JOC statement.
Separately, the CTS special forces recaptured several government buildings, including the building of Nineveh's provincial council, in al-Faisaliyah neighborhood after the troops defeated IS militants in the neighborhood in sporadic clashes during late Friday and Saturday morning, a source from CTS command told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Late on Friday, a JOC statement said that the CTS troops advanced since the early Friday morning into three neighborhoods of al-Sadriya, al-Naser and al-Faisaliyah in the central part of Mosul's eastern side and engaged in heavy clashes with IS militants, asserting that the troops freed the three neighborhoods but apparently sporadic clashes continued against small pockets of resistance.
The battles in Mosul came as the CTS commandos, army troops and federal police launched on Dec. 29 the second phase of a major offensive to free the eastern side of Mosul, locally known as the left bank of the Tigris River which bisects the city.
Last month, battles in Mosul had been slowed as extremist militants used locals as human shields, resorted to suicide car bombs and made mortar and sniper attacks in stiff resistance.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Oct. 17 announced a major offensive to retake Mosul, the country's second largest city.
Since then, Iraqi security forces, backed by international coalition forces, have inched to the eastern fringes of Mosul and made progress on other routes around the city.
Mosul, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under IS control since June 2014, when Iraqi government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.