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Exclusive video: Iraqi forces near Mosul mosque where IS group leader declared 'caliphate'

© FRANCE 24 (screen grab)

Video by Abdallah MALKAWI , Gallagher FENWICK , Matthieu MABIN

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-03-10

FRANCE 24 reports from the front line of the battle for Mosul as Iraqi forces close in on the mosque where Islamic State (IS) group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a "caliphate" in June 2014.

The battle for Mosul may be nearing its end, as Iraqi forces move within sight of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, where the IS group proclaimed its so-called caliphate.

Baghdadi is believed to have fled the former IS group bastion sometime before Iraqi security forces – backed by air support from the anti-IS group coalition – surrounded the city.

FRANCE 24’s Gallagher Fenwick earlier cited some Mosul residents as saying that Baghdadi’s departure shows that he is “no honourable leader and rather a coward, because he chose to leave his troops behind – who are facing defeat – rather than engage in combat alongside his troops”.

But it is a welcome development for some.

"We will hunt them down until the end …We will follow them all the way to Syria and finish them off once and for all," says one young soldier.

Syria may indeed be next on the agenda. But for now the IS group appears poised to suffer heavy losses before losing one of its main strongholds in Iraq.

Click on the video player above to view the full FRANCE 24 report.

Date created : 2017-03-09

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