Iraqi Popular Forces Continue to Advance against ISIL in Western Nineveh
The sources said that the PMU forces, led by Haider al-Ameri, engaged in a tough battle with demoralized ISIL terrorists and managed to take control of the villages of Tal Ghiza, Hatimyia, Qabosyia, North Kabisa and South Kabisa.
They added that the PMU offensive aims to capture the ISIL’s stronghold of al-Ba’aj and push towards the Syrian border, possibly even crossing into the Deir Ezzur province in support of the Syrian Armed Forces.
Relevant reports said on Monday that the Iraqi military engineers installed a new floating bridge across the Tigris river, reconnecting the two halves of Mosul to facilitate troop deployments ahead of a final assault to dislodge ISIL from the Northern city.
All five bridges connecting the two sides of the city bisected by the Tigris were struck by the US-led coalition in order to hinder the militants’ movements in the early stages of the campaign to retake Mosul last year, Iraqi News reported.
Seven months on, Iraqi forces removed ISIL from all but a pocket of territory in the Western half of Mosul, including the Old City, where the militants were expected to make their last stand.
It was set to be the most complex battleground yet.
“This floating bridge is very important for deploying reinforcements to the west side rapidly to build up adequate forces to sweep the Old City soon,” Colonel Haitham al-Taie told Reuters.
Taie said the bridge in the Hawi al-Kaneesa area would also spare fleeing civilians from making a long journey to the nearest crossing point, about 30 km (20 miles) South of Mosul.
The militants are effectively holding hundreds of thousands of civilians hostage as human shields to slow their advance.