The United Nations says destruction from the Iraqi military operation to retake western Mosul from Daesh is two-and-a-half times greater than it was in eastern Mosul, retaken earlier this year.
Using satellite imagery and information from local researchers, the U.N. said in a news release yesterday it found more than 1,140 housing sites have been destroyed in western Mosul, even though only about half have been retaken by Iraqi forces.
Lise Grande, U.N. Iraq humanitarian coordinator, says: "The level of damage in western Mosul is already far greater than in the east, even before the battle to retake the Old City begins."
Analysts say Iraqi forces deployed in the west have less experience in urban battle and are trying to keep casualties down by relying on heavy firepower.
Iraqi armed forces have captured parts of Al-Tanak neighborhood in northern Iraq's Mosul city, a police official told Anadolu Agency Thursday.
Anti-terrorism forces affiliated the Iraqi army clashed for more than 13 hours until Thursday noon with Daesh militants in the neighborhood, which is regarded as one of the most important strongholds of the terror group in the western part of the city, Police Capt. Said Kamel al-Alusi said.
Seven alleys in the neighborhood were recaptured, al-Alusi said, adding that his forces killed 15 armed militants and arrested another three; they also destroyed a booby-trapped vehicle through which a suicide bomber tried to target Iraqi troops.
A police captain was also killed and another four injured during the operation, he added.
About the U.S.-led coalition's coordination with Iraqi forces in Mosul operations, al-Alusi said: "Poor weather conditions in the region have reduced airstrikes of the international coalition's warplanes on Daesh-linked sites in western Mosul."
Clashes are expected to continue in the area. In a related development, the federal police command announced on Thursday that Iraqi troops penetrated the old city towards the Nuri mosque in the western part of Mosul.
"The federal police penetrated the old city and killed 13 terrorists, and destroyed 7 booby-trapped vehicles of Daesh in the Bab al-Jadid axis towards the al-Nuri Mosque in western Mosul," police commander Maj. Raed Shaker Jawdat said in a brief statement.
He added: "The federal police managed to shoot down a Daesh drone in northern Al-Tayaran district and launched artillery attacks targeting terrorist headquarters in the old city."
In February, Iraqi ground forces -- backed by the U.S.-led coalition's air power -- began fresh operations aimed at ousting Daesh from western Mosul, the terrorist group's last bastion in northern Iraq. The offensive is part of a wider campaign launched last October to retake the entire city, which Daesh overran in mid-2014.