Thursday, November 3, 2016

Iraqi forces secure highway linking Mosul and Raqqa

An Iraqi man gets his beard trimmed as civilians take a shelter inside a mosque in the village of Gogjali, as clashes go on between Iraq army forces and Daesh to retake Mosul, on November 2, 2016. (AFP/Bulent Kilic)

Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi forces, also known as the Popular Mobilization Units, have taken control of the main highway connecting the Daesh-held Iraqi city of Mosul and Daesh's de facto capital in Syria.
The group’s spokesman, Jaafar al-Husseini, announced on Wednesday that the troops had gained control of the highway linking the northern Iraqi city to Raqqah in a move that effectively cuts the Daesh's main supply line.
Forces from the Popular Mobilization Units are part of vast operations launched on October 17 by the Iraqi army, Shia and Sunnivolunteer fighters as well as Kurdish Peshmerga forces to retake Mosul, the last stronghold of Daesh in Iraq.
Meanwhile, Iraqi special forces are carrying out a house-to-house clearance operation in the newly-recaptured neighborhood of Gogjali in eastern Mosul.
Lieutenant Colonel Muhanad al-Timimi said that so far eight Daesh militants had been killed during the operation.
The Iraqi force also downed a Daesh drone during the operations in Gogjali.
Earlier, Iraq’s Federal Police Forces announced that they had recaptured four villages near city’s Hammam al-Alil area.
Meanwhile, reports say Daesh’s chief, Ibrahim al-Samarrai, also known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was hiding in Mosul when the Mosul operations began last month, and is now trapped in the besieged city.
“Baghdadi is there and, if he is killed, it will mean the collapse of the whole [Daesh] system,” Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to Iraqi Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani, said in a Wednesday interview published by The Independent.
Hussein noted that Baghdadi’s presence in Mosul could prolong the operations to liberate the city, adding that capturing the city would spell the end of Daesh.
“It is obvious that they will lose, but not how long this will take to happen,” he added.

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