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Coalition: forces closing in on Mosul, Raqqa to reclaim from IS

WASHINGTON, June 1 (KUNA) -- Iraqi forces are closing in on the final areas held by the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Mosul while Syrian forces are a few kilometers from the essential city of Raqqa.
"The remaining ISIS fighters hold less than 10 square kilometers of the city," said Combined Joint Task Force, Operation Inherent Resolve Spokesperson Ryan Dillon to reporters Thursday.
"Liberating these final neighborhoods will be among the most difficult fighting the (Iraqi forces have) faced in their campaign to defeat ISIS." In the past week the coalition conducted 21 strikes in support of the Iraqi's efforts in Mosul and destroyed many IS held properties includes 120 vehicles.
Iraq has established safe passages to get civilians outside of the city after having been "herded and forced into buildings, being trapped to be used for ISIS' sinister tactics," Dillion noted.
Meanwhile in Syria, opposition forces gained about 350 square kilometers in the past week and are within 3 kilometers of Raqqa city from the north and the east.
This week, the coalition conducted 59 strikes in support of isolating Raqqa and continues to engage IS targets wherever they are found, Dillion affirmed. (end) ak.mb