The long-awaited battle for Mosul enters its third day, in a push which has seen the Iraqi army join forces with various military groups in the country, including Shia, Sunni and Kurdish forces, to drive out Daesh terrorists from their last stronghold in Iraq. Mosul slipped into the hands of Daesh in the summer of 2014. It took months for the army and pro-government volunteer forces to prepare for the decisive offensive to liberate the strategic northern city.
(To read about military advances and related developments on the second day of the operations, click here.)
— Iraqi forces are ready to retake several key areas around Mosul, including Qaraqosh, the country’s largest Christian town.
“We are surrounding Hamdaniyah now,” Lieutenant General Riyadh Tawfiq, commander of Iraq’s ground forces, said on Wednesday, adding, “There are some pockets (of resistance), some clashes, they send car bombs — but it will not help them.”
— Almost 1,500 refugees have so far arrived at the Debaga refugee camp since the operation to liberate Mosul began.
— Lt. Gen. Talib Shaghati, a senior Iraqi general on Wednesday called on militants present in Mosul to surrender to government forces, telling reporters that about 6,000 Daesh terrorists were inside the city.
— A large explosion is seen south of Mosul as Peshmerga forces clash with Daesh terrorists during the operation lunched to free Mosul from terrorist elements.
— President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani takes part in news conference to announce that Peshmerga forces have so far seized 200 square kilometers of land around the city of Mosul, adding, “Up to now, 200 square kilometers have been liberated. This is the first phase of the Mosul operation. It has started from the east and from the southeast of Mosul and it is a joint operation between the Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi army.”
— Arabic-language al-Sumaria television reports that US-led military aircraft have pounded a restaurant, frequently visited by Daesh militants, in Baaj village west of Mosul. Nine terrorists were killed in the aerial attack.
— Iraq’s Joint Operations Command (JOC) says the armed forces have seized control of the villages of Shami, Kharbat al-Hadid and al-Baydhah west of Mosul.
— Five Daesh Takfiris have been killed when Iraqi fighter jets struck two vehicles travelling along a road in Anah town in the western province of Anbar.
The US-led coalition’s fighter jets also hit Daesh positions in Rawa town, located approximately 20 kilometers from Anah, killing and injuring an unspecified number of terrorists, Iraq’s Alsumaria television reported.
— Mahma Xelil, the Kurdish-appointed mayor of Sinjar, says Peshmerga forces have thwarted a Daesh attack on the town. Two Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers have suffered injuries during the gun battles with the militants, he added.
In August 2014, Daesh terrorists overran Sinjar and systematically massacred, captured and enslaved thousands of Izadis.
— A security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, says Daesh has detonated Mosul governor’s office on the central al-Jomhouri Street by means of trinitrotoluene (TNT) blocks.
— Iraqi forces have seized control of Kani al-Haramiyah village, southeast of Mosul, following fierce exchanges of gunfire with Daesh militants.
— Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) say they have established control over the road linking Baghdad to Mosul.
— Iraq’s Joint Operations Command says the army’s fighter jets have carried out an airstrike against Bartalah district east of Mosul, killing the self-proclaimed Daesh Nineveh provincial governor, Waed Younis, and 32 of his aides. The JOC added that 25 Daesh members were killed as Iraqi forces wrested control over Hamdaniya district. The remaining terrorists fled the area to save their lives.
— Iraqi forces have discovered a network of tunnels linking different areas controlled by Daesh.
— Daesh terrorists have carried out two car bombings against Iraqi forces in Hamdaniya district, located 35 kilometers southeast of Mosul, as the Takfiri group goes on the defensive ahead of the ground operations due to start later in the day.
— The Iraqi army and fighters of the Popular Mobilization Units, known as Hashed al-Sha’abi, are the main forces to take part in the Wednesday battles.
— Since the early hours of Wednesday, Daesh positions south of Mosul have been hit by airstrikes.
— The Popular Mobilization Units has announced in a statement that its forces would not march into Mosul, located some 400 kilometers north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, and would instead keep its positions on the western flank of the city, where they will work to thwart foreign plots aimed at impeding the operation.
The statement underlined that only Iraqi army soldiers and security personnel would enter Mosul, while pro-government forces would fight for the liberation of the city of Tal Afar, situated 63 kilometers west of Mosul.
— Commander of Federal Police Forces Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat says Iraqi security forces have managed to cleanse an expanse of 352 square kilometers from Daesh terrorists since the Mosul operation got underway on Monday.
— Iraqi Christians celebrated on Tuesday the recapture of the town of Qaraqosh, 32 kilometers southeast of Mosul, and Hamdaniya district, from the grip of Daesh extremists.
They gathered at a Catholic church in the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, Erbil, to rejoice the liberation and pray for the full retaking of Mosul.
Thousands of Christians fled Qaraqosh when Daesh Takfiris overran it two years ago.
— US officials have warned that Daesh may resort to launching chemical attacks to hold its grip on Iraq’s second largest city.
Warnings against redeployment of Daesh to eastern Syria
Iraq and Russia have both warned against the possible relocation of Daesh terrorists from Mosul to Syria.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said that it is the responsibility of the US-led coalition, which is providing air-support in the Mosul battle, to prevent Daesh terrorists from escaping and relocating in neighboring Syria.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has also warned that Daesh may find a corridor to move to Syria as Mosul is not “fully encircled,” saying Moscow would take the appropriate military and political decisions if the terrorists are allowed to flee.
‘Iraq resolute to get rid of terrorists’
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani has hailed the Iraqis’ strong determination to cleanse their country of Takfiri terrorists with the help of allies.
It is up to the Iraqi people to decide the time frame of the liberation operations as well as the type of the military advice they receive, adding that media propaganda cannot affect the Arab nation’s will.