Battle to Retake Daesh-Held Mosul Begins

تم نشره في Mon 17 October / Oct 2016. 12:00 AM
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MOSUL/BAGHDAD — Iraqi government forces launched a US-backed offensive on Monday to drive ISIS militants from the northern city of Mosul, in a high-stakes battle to retake the militants' last major stronghold in the country.

Iraqi forces started operations to retake the city of Mosul (450 KM north of Baghdad) from the Daesh terrorist group, Iraqi prime minister Haider Abadi said Monday.

Two years after the jihadists seized the city of 1.5 million people and declared a caliphate from there encompassing tracts of Iraq and Syria, a force of some 30,000 Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Sunni tribal fighters began to advance.

Helicopters released flares and explosions could be heard on the city's eastern front, where Reuters watched Kurdish fighters move forward to take outlying villages.

A US-led air campaign has helped drive Daesh from much of the territory it held but 4,000 to

In a televised address broadcast early Monday, Abadi said: "Today I declare the start of the heroic operations to liberate you from Daesh." The hour of victory has come, the operation to liberate Mosul has started." Surrounded by senior Iraqi officers, Abadi added: "The force leading liberation operations is the brave Iraqi army with the national police and they are the ones that will enter Mosul, not others." Iraqi Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ahmad told Petra's reporter in Baghdad that the Daesh terror group collapsed and has lost large areas of it's stronghold in the city.

"A local Daesh radio called its fighters to withdraw from front lines with the Iraqi forces", he added.

The Iraqi forces along with the US army began erecting military bridges in preparation for storming the city that was taken two years ago by the terrorists.

Around 1.5 million civilians remain in the city, international aid agencies voice fears the terrorists could use them as human shields, he explained.

The Daesh terror gang took control of Mosul in summer 2014, after the collapse of Iraqi military during Nouri Malki's term.