World, Middle East

Iraqi forces report gains southeast of Daesh-held Mosul

As Mosul campaign enters second month, Iraqi army, allies face stiff resistance from Daesh

18.11.2016
Iraqi forces report gains southeast of Daesh-held Mosul File photo

By Mohamed Waleed and Ibrahim Saleh

NINEVEH, Iraq

Iraqi forces on Friday captured two more villages southeast of Mosul from the Daesh terrorist group, military sources told Anadolu Agency.

The latest advances come within the context of an ongoing campaign -- which began one month ago -- aimed retaking Mosul, regional capital of Iraq’s northern Nineveh province.

"The army’s Ninth Division on Friday morning liberated the village of Omar Kan, located north of the ancient city of Nimrud and southeast of Mosul," Colonel Mohamed al-Jubouri of the army’s Joint Nineveh Operations Command told Anadolu Agency.

"After besieging the village since Thursday evening, Iraqi forces stormed it Friday morning, eventually liberating it completely," he said.

On the same day, Iraqi forces captured a second village southeast of Mosul, according to army officials.

"Units of the army’s Ninth Armored Division have completely liberated Tel Wai village north of the Al-Zab axis," Lieutenant-General Abdul-Amir Yarallah, who is leading the campaign to capture Mosul, said in a televised statement.

Iraqi forces are currently advancing on Mosul from the south and southeast and now stand only a few kilometers from Mosul’s airport, which is situated some 5 kilometers from the city center.

Units from Iraq’s anti-terrorism agency, meanwhile, remain locked in battle with Daesh in the eastern part of the city, where they have captured a number of neighborhoods.

Their progress has been hindered, however, by fierce resistance by the militants, who are using snipers and suicide bombers against advancing troops.

On Oct. 18, the Iraqi army -- backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and local allies on the ground -- began a wide-ranging operation to retake Mosul, Daesh’s last bastion in northern Iraq.

Once Iraq’s second largest city in terms of population, Mosul was overrun by the terrorist group -- along with large parts of the country’s northern and western regions -- in mid-2014.

Recent months have seen the Iraqi army and its allies retake much territory, especially on Mosul’s outskirts and in the western Anbar province.

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