President Bush says most of southern Iraq is now in coalition hands.
Speaking to reporters today (Sunday) at the White House, Mr. Bush acknowleged that areas of Iraqi resistance remain. But he said U-S and British forces are "slowly but surely" achieving their objectives in Iraq and that Saddam Hussein is losing control of his country.
Mr. Bush cautioned that the U-S-led coalition is only at the beginning of a tough fight.
Coalition forces have surged to within 160 kilometers of Baghdad, despite heavy fighting in at least four locations -- Basra, Najaf, Nassiriya, and the port city of Umm Qasr, where British forces said they had seized control on Friday.
Reporters say the U-S Third Infantry Division took control of plains south of Baghdad early today (Sunday) in a firefight that matched American tanks against Iraqi trucks mounted with machine-guns. U-S military sources say as many 100 Iraqis were killed in the battle, with no reported American casualties.
The Iraqi capital continues to be rocked by explosions periodically throughout the day and night.
Explosions were also reported today around the northern city of Mosul, and in Tikrit, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's home town.
A Kurdish official said scores of U-S special forces landed near Sulaymaniyah late Saturday in northern Iraq and U-S airstrikes continued in the region against the stronghold of the Islamic extremist group, Ansar al-Islam.
Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan told reporters in Baghdad that coalition forces are being allowed to move north from Kuwait uncontested, but he said U-S led forces will face certain defeat once they approach Baghdad.