US-backed Iraqi forces are about to reach the main government complex in Mosul, their next target in the offensive to dislodge Islamic State from the city, a commander says.
The complex, which houses the Nineveh Provincial Council and the Nineveh Governorate buildings, should be taken Monday, Lt Colonel Abdel Amir al-Mohammadawi told Reuters on Sunday.
Rapid response units from the interior ministry are "very close" to the complex, said Mohammadawi, a senior media officer with these elite units.
The total number of civilians displaced from Mosul has risen sharply over the past days and now exceeds 200,000, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
The displaced are fleeing the fighting between US-backed Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants who have controlled the northern Iraqi city since 2014.
The IOM's Mosul Displacement Tracking Matrix showed the total number of people displaced form Mosul since the start of the offensive on Islamic State in the city in October exceeding 206,000 on Sunday, versus 164,000 on February 26.
International aid agencies have expressed concern over the past few days that camps to accommodate displaced people are approaching full capacity.
Iraqi forces captured the eastern side of Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting and launched their attack on the districts that lie west of the Tigris river on Feburary 19.