World Bulletin / News Desk
At a Tuesday press conference held in the Al-Qayyara district south of Mosul, Brigadier-General Saad Maan, a spokesman for the army’s Baghdad Operations Command, said Iraqi forces had recently captured several areas inside Mosul and had since handed them over to local security forces.
"All the areas we capture [inside Mosul] will be handed over to the local police force," Maan said, noting that army operations remained ongoing along all battlefronts.
At the same press conference, U.S. Air Force Colonel John Dorrian -- a spokesman for a 60-nation, U.S.-led coalition against ISIL -- said Iraqi forces were sparing no effort to protect Mosul’s civilian population.
"We [coalition forces] have struck ISIL positions with more than 4,000 mortar rounds [since the Mosul campaign began on Oct. 17]," he said.
"We have killed hundreds of ISIL extremists and destroyed 59 bomb-laden vehicles and 80 tunnels [south of Mosul]," Dorrian added.
Last month, the Iraqi army -- backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and local allies on the ground -- launched a wide-ranging operation aimed at retaking Mosul.
Once Iraq’s second largest city in terms of population, Mosul -- along with additional swathes of territory in the country’s north and west -- was overrun by ISIL in mid-2014.
Recent months have seen the Iraqi army and its allies retake much territory from the extremist group, especially on Mosul’s outskirts and in the western Anbar province.