ISIS barbarians are putting up fierce resistance as they stage their final defence of Mosul, unleashing snipers, armed drones and poison gas car bombs.
Correspondent Owen Holdaway experienced the terror group’s brutality first hand when he was caught up in an attack on the frontline in the Iraqi city.
Here’s his account front the frontline:
The frontline is just north of Ghazlani military base and near the city’s main airport, an area that had been successfully liberated the day before.
“We are heading to the frontline now watch out for snipers,” said Mohammed, from the Iraqi Special Operation Forces.
“We are following this tank and building up a walled position to overlook ISIS, but the area is not secure,” the gunner from Baghdad added.
Sure enough the position is attacked.
“Don’t get out of the vehicle,” said the driver of the MRAP, a mine resistant ambush protected vehicle.
“And don’t open the windows, we have been hit here,” he said, pointing to the cracked glass.
Shortly after, the nearby tank fires off a deafening round in an attempt to hit the potential sniper.
Meanwhile, a low flying Apache helicopter provides extra support, launching missiles in a similar direction.
The operation lasts around two hours, but there are no confirmed kills by the end of it.
Back at a temporary base, close to the frontline, the commander of this special forces division explains how the operation is progressing.
“We are building up an overlooking position while another division is moving round into the western outskirts,” he states.
“But the battle will be difficult there are snipers, IEDs, explosives and landmines in our way.”
Iraqi soldiers believe ISIS’s days are numbered in Mosul, with one fighter insisting the terror group’s grip on the city would be completely lost in a few months.
Special forces fighter Khatab said: “I fought them in east Mosul, this battle is harder, the terrain is more difficult in the west and there are more civilians.
“But I still believe ISIS will be finished in Mosul in months.”
Despite this, ISIS extremists seem intent to unleash increasingly cruel tactics until the bitter end.
The desperate jihadis are planting booby traps and landmines in an attempt to stall the offensive by coalition-backed Iraqi forces to retake the city in northern Iraq.
ISIS even deployed a ‘suicide car bomb’ carrying 1,000 litres of chlorine in south Mosul.
ISIS took control of Mosul, north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, in a few days in June 2014.
Iraqi forces launched a fresh offensive to retake the western part of Mosul around 10 days ago.
Iraqi security forces are now getting close to the main government complex in western Mosul in their offensive to dislodge the militants.
But this part of the city is thought to be a bigger challenge with its narrow streets and a population of over 750,000.
“We are trying to prevent any civilian casualties,” the commander added.
“It will be difficult as they are relocating civilians and mixing in with them.”
The coalition forces have dropped leaflets telling civilians to escape, but this is not always possible, charities say.
“Families in western Mosul tell us escape is not an option – if they try to flee they risk summary execution by ISIS fighters," Maurizio Crivallero, Save the Children’s Iraq Country Director said.