>> Iraqi forces pushing north to Mosul, as they hope to gain control of a city lost two years ago to Islamic State. Buoyed on by victory in Fallujah, Iraq's second city is now the focus. The militant group seized around a third of the country in 2014, but it's losing its grip according to Reuters correspondent in Baghdad, Stephen Kalin.
>> The US estimates that it's lost about half of that territory, and it's really lost a number of important cities. Most recently Fallujah, but also Ramadi about six months ago, Hawija before that, Sinjar in the north. So it's area is slowly shrinking. And Iraqi forces are making some progress towards that really, that jewel of Mosul which is the largest city still under the Islamic State control.
>> South of Mosul, Iraqi forces are closing in on a strategic airbase held by IS from two sides. Troops are heading west towards the Tigris River from Makhmur, and north from Baiji.>> We're months away from a real campaign against the city of Mosul itself because that 60 kilometer distance from the airbase up to Mosul will be heavily contested.
There's also a large city, Tela'afar, to the southwest of Mosul which will present another battle and there are strongholds in other parts of the area still held by Islamic State.>> Thousands of civilians have already been displaced by the fighting. The UN says a full scale assault on Mosul could see more than two million people leave their homes.
But Iraq's Prime Minister has promised to retake Mosul by the end of the year and his troops seem to be on track.