Maj. Gen. Rupert Jones, the British deputy commander of the coalition fighting Daesh, talks to a shop owner in east Mosul.
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U.S.-backed Iraqi forces Wednesday began a push toward the mosque in Mosul where Daesh (ISIS) declared a self-styled caliphate three years ago, military officials said.The forces had encircled the militant group's stronghold in the Old City of Mosul, where the medieval Grand Al-Nouri Mosque is located, Tuesday, they said.The Iraqi army estimates the number of Daesh fighters at no more than 300, down from nearly 6,000 in the city when the battle of Mosul started on Oct. 17 .Maj. Gen. Rupert Jones, British deputy commander of the international coalition, said Iraqi forces had overcome the distrust that marked their relations with the population of Mosul, which facilitated Daesh's takeover of the city in 2014 .
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