MOSUL, Iraq, Nov - The Iraqi security forces, on Tuesday, continued their advance in south and west of the city of Mosul, as fierce battles continued in the city, to drive out the militants from their last major stronghold in Iraq.
In the west of Mosul, the Shiite Hashd Shaabi paramilitary units continued their advance in the vast rugged land towards the town of Tal-Afar, some 70 km west of Mosul, and managed to recapture six villages, after clashes with the militants, Lieutenant General Abdul-Amir Yarallah, from the Joint Operations Command said, in a statement.
The paramilitary units fought fierce clashes with the militants during the advance, killing dozens of them and destroying seven booby-trapped cars, along with seizing a large cache of weapons and mortar rounds, Yarallah said.
Tuesday's advance brought the paramilitary units to about 18 kilometres from the airport of the town of Tal Afar, Yarallah said, asserting that the recapture of the airport will enable the troops to use it as a launching pad to free Tal Afar.
Tal Afar, which used to have majority of both Sunni and Shiite Turkman villagers, as well as, other minorities of Kurds and Arabs, fell to Daesh in 2014.
The advance of the predominantly Shiite paramilitary units was aimed to cut off the supply lines between Mosul and neighbouring Syria, but such advance in the ethnically mixed region, where Sunni Muslims form a majority, could spark sectarian tension with Sunni Arabs and neighbouring Sunni state of Turkey.
In the south of Mosul, the Iraqi army and federal police surrounded the Daesh held village of Albu Saif, located some six kilometres from Mosul airport at the southern edge of the city, a source from the Operations Command of Nineveh Liberation said.
In Mosul, the army pushed further into the southeastern districts of Intisar, Jadidat al-Mufti, al-Salam, Younis al-Sab'awi, amid fierce clashes with the extremist militants in the eastern side of the city, locally known as left bank of the Tigris River, the source said.
In the eastern part of the city, the commandos of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) continued clearing operation in the districts of Aden, Baker, al-Dahabiyah and Khadraa, the source added, without giving further details.
Early in the month, hundreds of the CTS commandos and Iraqi army made a significant progress from three directions at the eastern side of Mosul and managed to recapture some 10 districts, so far, out of about 60 districts on both sides of the city.
Source: Nam News Network