The Iraqi flag was reportedly spotted waving from a TV building in eastern Mosul, after the Iraqi special forces set foot in the city for the first time since it was occupied by the Islamic State (Isis) in 2014.

The Iraqi troops continued their advance into the eastern part of Mosul and were able to liberate the Gogjali area, around 8km (5 miles) from the city centre, after intense fighting with Daesh fighters, Kurdish channel Rudaw reported.

A video filmed by their crew shows civilians carrying a white flag as they flee the Gogjali district with their livestocks of sheeps, cows and donkeys. They told reporters they were under siege for days before they could flee the Isis-controlled areas.

Iraqi military officials said the Gogjali neighbourhood was fully under their control by the afternoon of 1 November, and the forces were now entering the Judaydat al-Mufti area, south of Gogjali. "The special forces have stormed in," Major General Sami al-Aridi told the Associated Press. "Daesh is fighting back and have set up concrete blast walls to block off the Karama neighborhood [in between Gogjali and Judayat al-Mufti] and our troops' advance," he said.

The spokesman for the US-led coalition Colonel John Dorrian told the press that Isis (Daesh) fighters can no longer move in large numbers. "And when we see them come together where there are significant numbers we will strike them and kill them," AP reported him saying during a televised press conference with Iraqi forces in Qayyarah, south of Mosul, which was liberated in August. He also clarified that the air operations are only using "precision munition" as to avoid civilian casualties.

Pictures of jubilant-looking Iraqi soldiers were shared on social media from other parts of Mosul the Iraqi forces have liberated, like Al-Shalalat, north of Mosul, as they move from the outskirts to the inner city.

Civilians following the offensive, which started three weeks ago (17 October) are excited at the latest developments. A man who fled the city when Isis occupied it two years ago, told IBTimes UK via text message he spoke to his cousin in Mosul, who lives on the right bank of the river Tigris, this morning (1 November).

Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions, he described how his family in Mosul are feeling: "They are so happy they forgot to be afraid."

Meanwhile, a senior Kurdish official told the Independent that Isis's self-declared caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is believed to be still inside the city.

Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to Kurdish President Massoud Barzani, said his government had information that "Baghdadi is there and, if he is killed, it will mean the collapse of the whole [Isis] system."

Mosul offensive
The Iraqi flag is seen during a sand storm in Bartilla, east of Mosul, Iraq Zohra Bensemra/ Reuters

من منطقة #الشلالات_المحررة✌✌✌

Posted by ‎صقور الاعلام الحربي - Falcons of war media‎ on Tuesday, November 1, 2016