00:15, 20 January 2020
watch on Dushanbe time, GMT+5
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weather

Bad weather slows the advance of Iraqi forces in western Mosul

Bad weather is slowing the advance of Iraqi forces towards ISIL

targets in western Mosul. Those on the scene say there is strong resistance from ISIL militants in some areas of the densely-populated Old City. Iraqi army helicopters have strafed and fired rockets at ISIL positions. Troops on the ground have closed in on the strategic and symbolic target of the al-Nuri mosque. Federal police troops have advanced past the train station in western Mosul closer to the mosque. A police commander said they were very close to taking control of it. Recent fighting has targeted the centuries-old mosque, with its famous leaning minaret. The recapture would be a blow for ISIL as ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in July 2014 after the hardline militants had seized swathes of Iraq and Syria.