US Army Major General Gary Volesky, who heads the land component command of the US-led coalition to defeat IS, predicted that foreign fighters will end up forming a large contingent of jihadists remaining in the city, as they have nowhere else to go.
An estimated 3,500 to 5,000 IS fighters are dug into Mosul, while tens of thousands of Iraqi forces have massed to recapture Iraqi's second city in an offensive that began on the outskirts Monday.
"We are telling Daesh that their leaders are abandoning them. We've seen a movement out of Mosul," he told reporters in a video briefing from Baghdad, using an Arabic acronym for IS.
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