MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Iraqi security forces intend to liberate Mosul from militants in the nearest future, Iraq's Ambassador to Russia Haidar Hadi told Sputnik on Thursday.
"We hope that Daesh will be defeated in a very short time," Hadi said. "We hope to complete the operation quickly because Daesh militants' morale is very low now."
He added that the progress of the offensive was complicated by militants using civilians as a human shield.
"We are worried about the lives of civilians, so we are acting very carefully," the diplomat pointed out.
Daesh is outlawed in the United States, Russia and numerous other countries.
"Two years ago, Daesh governed 40 percent of Iraqi territory. Now, only 15 percent of the Mosul province is in its hands," Hadi said at a Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency press conference.
Approximately 225,000 people were displaced in the area due to the ongoing clashes, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
"Our government has no information on the use of chemical weapons [by Daesh ]," Hadi said.
On March 3, media reported that chemical weapons had been used during a fight between the Daesh terror group and Iraqi troops in East Mosul. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), 12 patients were referred to hospital showing symptoms consistent with exposure to a toxic chemical agent. The number has since risen to 15.