eeing for their lives as Iraqi forces closed in on Islamic State's last redoubt in Mosul on Friday. Iraqi commanders say militants may be dug in amongst civilians using women and children as human shields. Warning that a ferocious battle lies ahead even after Thursday's symbolic victory when the US backed forces seized the Grand Al Nuri Mosque from which Islamic State proclaimed the Caliphate three years ago.
Reuters correspondent Steven Caylin is at the mosque, a symbol of Islamic State's power that retreating IS fighters blew up last week.>> The generals are telling us that they expect the battle to be over in the next few days, as their forces push further towards the river and take the last piece of territory from Islamic State.
And it's a small piece of land, about a square kilometer. And we there are several thousand civilians. We just saw a few of them coming out of the city,and the Iraqi commanders have told us that they expect, there's probably about 200 Islamic State fighters still left inside. So while we're close to the end of the battle, we probably have a few days left to go.
>> Mosul's fall would mark the end the Iraqi half of the so called Caliphate. The war for this city has raged for nine months. Islamic State still holds territory home to tens of thousands of people to the west and south, its Syrian stronghold Raqqa also under siege now.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi has declared the Caliphate's fall, calling it a state of falsehood. For the people whose lives have been wrecked, who have lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods, that victory may taste bittersweet.