The fight to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State is nearing its "final stages," a senior U.S. official said Monday.
Iraqi forces are "completely defeating" ISIS in one of the most difficult urban battles since World War II, said Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS at the U.S. State Department.
McGurk spoke from a water treatment plant south of Mosul where Iraqi forces closely backed by the U.S.-led coalition are slowly closing in on the remaining cluster of ISIS-held neighborhoods in the city's west.
His visit comes a week-and-a-half after U.S.-backed Iraqi forces launched a renewed push on the northwestern edge of Mosul in an effort to encircle the old city where ISIS fighters are believed to be holding more than 200,000 civilians hostage as shields.
The military said that video revealed the ISIS attempting to bait the U.S. into killing civilians, Fox News reported in late March.
"ISIS is smuggling civilians into buildings so we won't see them, and trying to bait the coalition to attack," Col. Joseph Scrocca said at the time.
The operation to retake Mosul from the ISIS was formally launched in October and in January, the city's eastern half was declared "fully liberated."
The fight for the city's west has devastated infrastructure there and inflicted high civilian casualties. In March, the U.S. acknowledged its forces launched an airstrike in western Mosul earlier that month that witnesses tell the AP killed more than 100 people. The U.S. has not confirmed that the strike resulted in civilian casualties and the Pentagon is investigating the incident.
Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.