Kurdish forces in fresh push to close in on Islamic State-held Mosul

The Iraqi army and the Peshmerga forces of the Kurdish self-rule region are gradually taking up positions around Mosul held by Islamic State.

By: Reuters | Wardak | Published:August 14, 2016 10:08 am
islamic state mosul, isis mosul, baghdad islamic state, isis mosul, kurdish forces mosul, iraq islamic state, isis iraq, isis abu bakr al baghdadi, world news, isis news A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul. (Source: Reuters/File)

Kurdish Peshmerga forces backed by US-led coalition airstrikes launched a fresh attack on Islamic State militants in northern Iraq in the early hours of Sunday, as part of a plan to close in on their de facto capital Mosul, a Kurdish official said. The offensive began after heavy shelling and several airstrikes, a correspondent reported from Wardak, 30 km (19 miles) south-east of Mosul, where some of the Peshmerga forces are deployed. Clouds of black smoke could be seen at a distance, possibly tires or other items set on fire by the militants to obstruct the planes’ visibility.

The Iraqi army and the Peshmerga forces of the Kurdish self-rule region are gradually taking up positions around Mosul, 400 km (248 miles) north of Baghdad, from whose Grand Mosque in 2014 Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate spanning regions of Iraq and Syria.Mosul is the largest urban center under the militants’ control, with a pre-war population of nearly 2 million.

Its fall would mark their effective defeat in Iraq, according to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who has said he aims to retake the city this year. The operation that started Sunday is part of the “shaping operations” to prepare for an offensive on the city itself, said a Kurdish official who declined to be identified. The Iraqi army is trying to advance from the south. In July it captured the Qayyara airfield, 60 km (35 miles) south of Mosul, which will serve as the main staging post for the expected offensive on the city.

Video of the day

For all the latest World News, download Indian Express App

    Live Cricket Scores & Results