"The Iraqi army has freed one small town and 12 villages located to the east and northeast of Mosul," he said. Baghdad-led forces "have moved very close to central Mosul. [The city center] is located 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away."
General Mukamed Masid added that the militants are hardly defending themselves.
"Many have fled or blown themselves up in trucks rigged with explosives," he said. "The Iraqi army and Peshmerga fighters carry out attacks against Daesh, leaving many killed and taking some [militants] as prisoner."
The large-scale operation to free Mosul, formally known as "We Are Coming, Nineveh," was launched on October 16 after months of preparation. The capital of the Nineveh province has served as Daesh's stronghold since June 2014. It remains the last major militant-held bastion in the embattled country.
General Mukamed Masid added that the militants are digging tunnels and trenches hundreds of kilometers long to avoid shelling. Daesh and other terrorist groups have employed this strategy in other towns under their control in Iraq and Syria, including al-Shaddadi and Sinjar.
"We have seen these trenches in villages that we have freed during recovery efforts," he said.