Iraqi troops edged further into Mosul on Friday as the United Nations revealed shocking new atrocities by the so-called Islamic State (Isis) terrorists occupying the city.
Elite Counterterrorism Forces entered the Qadisiya district, advancing slowly to minimise civilian casualties and avoid being surprised by suicide car bombers, said Brigadier General Haider Fadhil.
Regular army troops now control 90 per cent of the Intisar district, said one officer, but progress has slowed because “the streets are too narrow for our tanks.”
In Geneva, the UN said Isis had killed some 70 civilians in Mosul over the past week for suspected collaboration with government forces.
Bodies were hung at various road junctions, with notes alleging that the victims had “used mobile phones to leak information.”
On Thursday, the UN human rights office said it had new evidence of chemical weapons attacks by Isis.
Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said four people had died from inhaling fumes after Isis shelled the al-Mishrag sulphur gas factory in Mosul on October 23.
In Syria Obama backed insurgents have fired chemical weapons into the largest city Aleppo, Russia’s Defence Ministry said yesterday.
Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said Russian military experts had “found evidence of chemical weapon use by terrorists against the civilian population and Syrian servicemen.”
The investigators, who arrived last week, found a “high probability” of toxic chlorine gas and white phosphorous in unexploded shells and soil samples from south-western districts of the city, including the 1070 housing estate.
Russia has called for international inspectors to send an urgent mission to Aleppo.
The 1070 area was finally wrested from the Army of Conquest, an alliance of al-Qaida affiliate the Levant Conquest Front and the US-backed Ahrar as-Sham and Army of Islam, on Tuesday.
That victory was a major setback for the insurgents’ three-week offensive to capture all of Aleppo and rescue some 2,000 of their cohorts trapped in the city’s east.
“Militants, who have been striving in the past days to break though the Syrian army’s exterior defence ring of Aleppo at any cost, have used toxic substances multiple times,” Gen Konashenkov said.