Iraqi forces retake control of 2 districts, 7 villages from IS in Mosul

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/12/14 9:07:50

Iraqi security forces recaptured two more districts in the city of Mosul on Tuesday, while paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units freed seven villages in west of the city, the Iraqi army said.

The commandos of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) freed the districts of al-Falah Oula and al-Falah Thaniya and raised the Iraqi flag on their buildings, a statement by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC) said.

The elite CTS started their push into the two districts early in the morning, bringing the total number of districts liberated from IS militants in eastern Mosul to 40, the JOC statement quoted Lieutenant-General Abdul Ameer Yarallah as saying.

The troops are facing grueling fighting inside Mosul from the extremist militants, who are carrying out brutal counter attacks in small groups moving quickly throughout the districts, and using suicide car bombs, as well as mortars and snipers, in addition to using the population of the city as human shields.

In west of Mosul, the predominantly Shiite Hashd Shaabi units freed seven villages near the IS-held town of Tal Afar, some 70 km west of Mosul, after heavy clashes with IS militants, according to the statement.

The presence of the Hashd Shaabi units near Tal Afar enabled them to cut off the IS supply routes from the west side of Mosul, and allowed both the paramilitary units and other Iraqi and Kurdish security forces to entirely isolate and surround the city Mosul.

The units' presence in the whole area in west of Mosul would also enable them to secure the border areas between Iraq and neighboring Syria and would cut off the IS supply routes between Mosul and the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital of IS self-declared caliphate.

The International Organization for Migration said in a recent report that over 91,000 men, women, and children have fled their homes in Mosul and its adjacent districts since the beginning of military offensive in October to reclaim the IS largest stronghold in Iraq. The number of displaced people in and near Mosul is rising everyday.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Oct. 17 announced a major offensive to retake Mosul, the country's second largest city.

Since then, the Iraqi security forces, backed international coalition forces, have inched to the eastern fringes of Mosul and made progress on other routes around the city.

Mosul, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under the IS control since June 2014, when Iraqi government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.

Posted in: MID-EAST

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