Iraq will announce imminently a final victory in the nearly nine-month offensive to retake Mosul, a US general said Saturday, as celebrations broke out among police forces in areas they control.
The Islamic State group seized Mosul in a lightning offensive on June 10, 2014 before sweeping across much of the country's Sunni Arab heartland and proclaiming a "caliphate" straddling Iraq and Syria.
The Iraqi forces launched their campaign to recapture Mosul in October, and since then IS has gone from holding the entire city to being trapped between security forces and the Tigris River on its western side.
Backed by a ferocious aerial bombing campaign by a US-led international coalition, the offensive has turned much of the city to rubble and forced tens of thousands of people to flee.
Diehard jihadists have been putting up fierce resistance in recent days, but their efforts to keep Iraqi troops from sealing what will be IS's biggest defeat yet look to be coming to an end.
"An announcement is imminent," Brigadier General Robert Sofge told AFP by phone.
"I don't want to speculate if it's today or tomorrow but I think it's going to be very soon," he added.
The jihadists that remain in Mosul are fighting to the death in a tiny area of just two blocks of the Old City next to the Tigris, Sofge said, and those that remain are "desperate".