Iraqi Forces Intensify Offensive to Retake Mosul Outskirt
The onslaught is aimed at “liberating” the town of Qayyara south of Mosul, the army said in a statement, Albawaba reported.
The operation comes after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the recapture of the western city of Fallujah from ISIL.
Qayyara is strategically important because it is the seat of an air base that government forces want to retake in order to use it as a launch pad for a long-delayed attack to dislodge ISIL from Mosul.
“The Iraqi forces are advancing towards the south of Mosul in a multi-direction operation,” spokesman for the operation’s command, Brigadier Yehia Rasul, said.
He added that government forces launched pre-emptive hits at ISIL posts with the aim of cutting off the militants’ supply routes in the area.
The recapture of Qayyara would help isolate Mosul, located around 400 kilometres North of the capital Baghdad.
Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, has been under ISIL control since mid-2014.