Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (C) walks during his visit to Mosul, Iraq May 29, 2017. (Reuter photo)
MOSUL, Iraq, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Monday that Iraqi forces are in the last stages of defeating Islamic State (IS) militants in the remaining neighborhoods of the western side of Mosul.
Abadi made his comments during a visit to the battleground in western Mosul, where he met with the commanders of the Iraqi security forces and the leaders of the paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units.
"The enemy (IS group) is in a state of collapse and cannot achieve any of its goals in Mosul, which once they considered their capital," Abadi said in a televised speech during his meeting with the commanders and fighters of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS).
According to Abadi, the security forces have freed about 95 percent of Mosul.
"The life is returning normal on the left bank of Mosul (eastern side of Mosul) and on the right bank (western side) most of it has been freed. We will soon declare full liberation of the city," he said.
Abadi also hailed the latest advance of the Hashd Shaabi units to the border with Syria and their liberation of many towns and villages, including villages of Yazidi minority who were brutally attacked by the extremist IS militants.
"These days, the Hashd Shaabi freed large areas, including areas of Iraqi Yazidis seized by the criminal Daesh (IS group), who killed the citizens and kidnapped their women," Abadi said.
"It is a matter of time and we will return those Yazidi families to their places," he promised.
Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of Iraqi forces, arrived in Mosul in the afternoon and held meetings with top commanders of the Iraqi army, federal police and CTS.
Abadi also visited the Hashd Shaabi's Operations Command headquarters in west of Mosul and held a meeting with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Hashd Shaabi units.
Earlier in the day, a statement by the Hashd Shaabi units said the units pushed in the early morning to the border line from the newly-freed town of al-Qahtaniyah, some 18 km east of the Syrian border, making their first arrival to the border line in south of Sinjar mountain.
The latest advance is part of a major offensive designed to secure the border areas with neighboring Syria and cut off IS supply routes between Mosul and the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital of the IS self-declared caliphate.
Also on Monday, Maan al-Saadi, commander of CTS special operations, told Xinhua that the CTS forces have taken control of 70 percent of al-Saha neighborhood in north of the IS-held old city center and killed some 70 IS militants, most of them foreigners and non-Iraqi Arabs, in the battles during the past two days.
The operations near the Syrian border came as Iraqi security forces, backed by the anti-IS international coalition, were conducting a major offensive to dislodge IS militants from their major stronghold in western Mosul.
Mosul, 400 km north of Baghdad, has been under IS control since June 2014, when government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to control parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.