Iraqi Forces Advancing on Mosul

Iraqi Forces Advancing on MosulIraqi Forces Advancing on Mosul

Iraqi government forces advancing on the city of Mosul held by the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group retook a village from IS on Tuesday and linked up along the Tigris River with army units pushing from a separate direction, Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi said.

The territorial gain, which followed the recapture of a key air base nearby at the weekend, further isolated Mosul in preparation for a government assault to recover Iraq’s second largest city 60 km to the north, Reuters reported.

“Forces from the 9th Armored Division and the counter-terrorism service liberated Ajhala Village north of Qayara base,” Obeidi said on Twitter.

“Our heroes arrived at the riverbank and made contact with Nineveh Liberation Operation units,” he added, referring to troops who had set out from Makhmour, 25 km east of the Tigris, in March.

On Monday, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the dispatch of 560 additional soldiers to Iraq, most of whom will work from Qayara to assist the Iraqi thrust toward Mosul.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has pledged to retake the city, the largest still held by IS, by yearend, but there is still debate in Washington about the timing of any move.