Mosul offensive: Iraqi forces make advances against Islamic StateFebruary/20 | am:10:56 / No Comments 179 views
Iraqi forces backed by the US-led coalition have captured many villages, as they launched an offensive to remove Islamic State (Isis) militants from the area.
Iraqi government police units are reportedly taking a northward charge on Mosul districts, which are situated west of the Tigris river, aiming to seize the Mosul airport, just south of the city, statements from the armed forces joint command said.
The units captured several villages and reached Zakrutiya, that is 5km (3 miles) south of the airport by the end of Sunday (19 February). Along the way, they also seized a power distribution station and killed many militants, including snipers.
Army Staff Lieutenant General Abdulamir Yarallah said that the Rapid Response unit, an elite interior ministry unit is making gains along with the federal police and gained control of two villages Athbah and Al-Lazzagah.
According to the BBC, special forces units detonated IS car bombs safely even as they cleared south Mosul villages. The jihadists also reportedly left behind SIM cards, weapons, instant coffee and clothes as they fled.
The commander of the US-led coalition forces, Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend said in a statement: “Mosul would be a tough fight for any army in the world.”
It further said that the coalition had carried out more than 10,000 air raids against IS (Daesh) targets in Iraq while they also trained and equipped more than 70,000 Iraqi forces.
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said: “The U.S. forces continue in the same role as they did in east Mosul.” He added that the rules of engagement for American troops have not changed. “We are very close to, if not already engaged in, that fight.”