Here are 15 photos of ISIS’ final days in its Iraqi stronghold

In July 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – the leader of ISIS who may have been killed in a Russian airstrike last month – declared a caliphate in the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, just weeks after ISIS fighters seized the city.

But now, ISIS only holds about 3% – no more than the length of a few football fields – of Iraq’s second-largest city.

Nevertheless, the few hundred remaining ISIS fighters in Mosul have not stopped their brutal tactics in the face of defeat.

They’re reportedly detonating bombs among civilians attempting to flee and using children as human shields, among other cruel tactics.

But Iraqi forces believe final victory is imminent, as their grueling eight-month assault on the city appears to be nearing its end.

This is what ISIS’ last days in Mosul look like:

Smoke billows out from Mosul’s Old City, the only area ISIS still holds, after several airstrikes.

Iraqi special-forces soldiers congregating after calling in an airstrike.

Iraqi forces have had to clear out ISIS fighters house by house, which two soldiers are about to do below.

ISIS fighters have reportedly been detonating explosives among civilians fleeing to Iraqi forces, which is why Iraqi soldiers have been making civilians get undressed and checking them for bombs.

Female ISIS militants have been “fighting with their children right beside them,” Lt. Gen. Sami al-Aridi told AP. The woman here is carrying an injured girl as they flee Mosul’s Old City.

Source: Associated Press

“There are civilians there, but they are [ISIS] families,” an Iraqi officer said. “They’re all [ISIS],” said another officer, “just kill them all.”

Source: Associated Press

“For a child, even if his father is a criminal, what has he done?” al-Aridi said. “At the same time, my men are still taking casualties. We had 14 wounded today already.”

Source: Associated Press

An Iraqi special-forces soldier walks on clothes left behind by fleeing civilians.

These three men — the middle one a suspected ISIS fighter — were detained in a basement by Iraqi forces.

The suspected ISIS fighter below was found dead by Iraqi forces in a destroyed home.

Iraqi special-forces Lt. Col. Salam Hussein, center, and his team watch ISIS positions using surveillance cameras.

Col. Pat Work of the US Army’s 82nd Airborne division speaks with Iraqi commanders, warning them about an increased chance of friendly fire as they close in on ISIS’ remaining positions. US military personnel deployed in Iraq and Syria have largely remained in advisory roles, mostly avoiding from the front lines.

An Iraqi soldier stands near what’s left of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri, which ISIS blew up in June. Built in the 12th century, the mosque was over 850 years old.

The UN has predicted it will cost about $1 billion to repair and replace Mosul’s damaged infrastructure. Mosul’s main hospital complex is seen here, after it was retaken by Iraqi forces.

While Iraqi forces are predicting final victory soon, their battle isn’t over yet. Here, an Iraqi sniper watches ISIS positions.