Almost three months to the day after Iraqi forces set off on their offensive to recapture the city of Mosul from ISIS fighters, Baghdad says it has retaken the eastern half of the city, splitting the terrorist group’s last Iraqi stronghold down the middle.

On Wednesday, Iraqi Staff Gen. Talib al-Sheghati, the head of the elite Counter Terrorism Service that has spearheaded fighting in eastern Mosul, announced “the liberation … of the left bank” of the Tigris River, which runs north-south and divides the city.

The campaign against ISIS in Mosul has advanced quickly this month. Iraqi forces had seen their progress slow at the end of 2016, and they went into an “operational refit” during the final days of the year.

Sheghati called the success of Iraqi forces so far in 2017 “unprecedented.”



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