Iraq Launches Operation to Retake West Mosul From Terrorists

Iraq Launches Operation to Retake West Mosul From Terrorists
Iraq Launches Operation to Retake West Mosul From Terrorists

Iraqi forces launched an offensive on militants defending Mosul’s west bank on Sunday, in what could be the most brutal fighting yet in a four-month-old operation on the city.

“Our forces are beginning the liberation of the citizens from the terror of IS,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a short televised speech, AFP reported.

“We announce the start of a new phase in the operation. We are coming, Nineveh, to liberate the western side of Mosul,” he said, referring to the province of which Mosul is the capital.

Iraqi forces led by federal police units retook two villages south of Mosul as part of the fresh push, a top commander said.

Army Staff Lieutenant General Abdulamir Yarallah said in a statement that forces advancing toward Mosul airport retook Athbah and Al-Lazzagah.

The two villages and neighboring areas that federal police and the interior ministry’s elite Rapid Response Forces retook on Sunday are the last before Mosul airport.

The airport and a nearby military base mark the southern approach to Mosul, on the east bank of the Tigris River that divides the city.

The militants have put up stiff resistance to defend Mosul, their last major stronghold in Iraq and the place where their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a “caliphate” in 2014.

After a pause in the operation launched on October 17, federal forces now face what was always billed as the toughest nut to crack: Mosul’s west bank, home to the narrow streets of the Old City.

“West Mosul had the potential certainly of being more difficult, with house-to-house fighting on a larger and more bloody scale,” said Patrick Skinner, from the Soufan Group intelligence consultancy.



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