Iraqi Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool recently said that ISIS now controls less than a quarter of the land it held at its peak in 2014.
U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS Brett McGurk visited Ottawa Thursday for senior-level discussions with Canadian officials including ministers of foreign affairs, national defense and security, according to a news release of the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa Thursday.
Martin said Iraqi forces had surrounded ISIL positions but it was not always possible to move vehicles into all parts of the Old City with its narrow streets.
Iraqi officers have said snipers have slowed them down in western Mosul in the biggest ground operation in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
Iraqi forces with the backing of the US-led coalition, which has thousands of forces deployed in Iraq and carries out daily airstrikes, launched a major offensive to retake Mosul in October 2016. They've intensified their efforts to bring civilians into harm's way.
The fact that the Iraqi government is making gains against IS militants illustrates how its intelligence apparatus has improved against IS, says Hisham al-Hashimi, a security analyst in Baghdad who advises the government on Sunni militant groups.
Syria's Assad says chemical attack '100 percent fabrication'
But Assad doubled down on his denials in the interview with AFP , conducted on Wednesday and published on Thursday. It was not allowed to film the interview itself; instead, the encounter was filmed by the Syrian presidency.
The enemy's use of civilians as human shields is "a despicable tactic, and unfortunate, and heartbreaking", he said.
"The Iraqi Security Forces continue their advance but it's very, very hard and it's just going to remain so for awhile", Dorrian added. They have really two choices: "they can surrender to the Iraqi security forces, or they're going to be killed".
"This enemy in Mosul is not going anywhere; they're not going to be able to leave to the west; they are cut off".
While progress continues, the colonel said, it's still a slow, tough fight. The Iraqi counterterrorism service and federal police are pressing more deeply into the dense, urban terrain along the Euphrates River and the old part of the city, Dorrian said, while elements of the Iraqi army continue clearing territory to the north and west of the city center. We never, ever target civilians.
"It's very complicated", Martin said.