Iraqi volunteers capture major road in Mosul
Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, also known as Hashd al-Sha’abi,have captured a road that links the two strategically important towns of Tal Afar and Sanjar to the west of Mosul.
The achievement effectively seals off Mosul, the last stronghold of Daesh in Iraq. The city is already surrounded on the northern, southern, and eastern parts by government troops.
According to Iraq’s al-Sumaria TV network, the road which is Daesh’s last remaining supply route linking Mosul to other Iraqi cities as well as to eastern Syria has now been cut off.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi charged Hashd al-Sha’abi with the task of liberating the nearby town of Tal Afar which lies on a key road used by Daesh terrorists to move back and force to Syria.
A spokesman of the volunteer forces said the liberation of Tal Afar located about 55 km west of Mosul needed highly trained forces capable of fighting in urban areas.
Abadi’s order came as reports said some 70 high-ranking Daesh commanders were leaving Tal Afar for the northern Syrian city of al-Raqqah.
Reports also said the self-proclaimed media minister of Daesh was killed in an Iraqi airstrike in Nineveh province. The man identified as Zaid Khorwah was reportedly responsible for the production of Daesh propaganda videos.
Troops took control of the Kara Tepe village in the northern province and raised the national flag over several buildings there.
Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters meanwhile shot down a Daesh drone which was collecting information on the positions and movements of volunteer forces over western Mosul.
Elsewhere in the town of al-Qaim, about 150 families were reported to have fled Daesh militants.
Iraqi government troops and Kurdish forces were preparing to liberate Hawijah about 282 kilometers north of Baghdad, with one military commander saying that some 2,000 Daesh terrorists were holed up in the city.
Hawijah slipped into Daesh hands in June 2014, and is considered one of the main strongholds of the terrorist group in Iraq.