lamic State is on the brink of defeat in Mosul, the assessment Tuesday of Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition that backs them. Just a few districts in the city's western half remain in the militant's grip. They include the old city, whose tiny lane is still packed with residents are the likely arena of their last stand.
Reuters' Isabel Coles who was in Mosul on Monday, says the cornered militants are fighting back with snipers and car bombs. So many that civilians have been warned not to get in their vehicles.>> We were with a commander who took us to a house. This war is really being fought from house to house.
We saw a suicide car bomb that the militants hadn't had time to deploy. We also saw dead ISIS militants and a great deal of destruction as well as civilians fleeing areas where the fighting has moved into now.>> 12 square kilometers of western Mosul remain under IS control, about 10% of the whole area, Iraq's military spokesman says.
Coalition airstrikes and advisors have helped Iraqi forces make swift gains.>> Around 12 days ago, Iraqi forces opened up a new front in the northwest of the city. Before that, they were sort of pushing up from the south and had got stuck at the edge of the old city because of the very difficult terrain there.
These narrow streets and the dense, dense population. So now by attacking ISIS on multiple axes from the northwest, Iraqi forces has been able to split their defenses.>> For a convincing win, Iraqi forces will need to seize the old city's al-Nuri mosque from whose minaret Islamic State proclaimed a caliphate three years ago.
They've given themselves less than a fortnight, their sights on a declaration of victory by the holy month of Ramadan.