MOSUL, Iraq, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Iraq will declare full liberation of Mosul from the Islamic State (IS) militants within two days, an Iraqi army commander said on Tuesday.
"The maximum deadline to declare full liberation of Mosul from IS group will be on Thursday," Major General Najim al-Jubouri, commander of Nineveh's Operations Command, said in a press release.
"After that the troops will head to last redoubt for IS militants in the province of Nineveh in Tal Afar," Jubouri said, adding that the army's 9th Armored Division, Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) forces and the federal police will be ready to free Tal Afar.
Tal-Afar, which located some 70 km west of Mosul, is the town of majority of both Sunni and Shiite Turkomans, in addition to other minorities of Kurds and Arabs. The town fell to IS hands in 2014.
As for the battles in the old city of the western side of Mosul, Jubouri said "we have about 400 meters remained under IS in some areas, and soon after we liberate al-Maydan area, we will declare the liberation of the right bank (western side of Tigris River) completely."
Iraq's Counter Terrorism Service, army, federal police and the Rapid Response forces have been fighting inside the old city, but the troops are making slow progress due to the stiff resistance of IS militants.
Large parts of Nineveh province including its capital Mosul, 400 km north of Baghdad, have been under IS control since June 2014, when government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.