The Iraqi popular forces said that they have thus far liberated over 45 villages West of Mosul as they continue their offensive against ISIL’s positions towards the town of Tal Afar.
Mohammad al-Basri, one of the field commanders of Iraqi popular forces told FNA that over 45 villages have been liberated and the volunteer forces have captured over 350 sq/km of territories West of Mosul towards Tal Afar.
“Based on the previously agreed plan between Baghdad and Damascus, the ISIL terrorists fleeing Mosul can be pursued in Syria,” he further added.
“The large population in some villages has slowed down our forces’ operation. ISIL is using civilians as human shield in Mosul and other regions.”
He called on Mosul’s civilians to leave the city via the security corridors established by Iraqi security forces.
The Iraqi Federal police command confirmed on Thursday that its forces liberated 10 villages South of Mosul as they continued their operation to capture the Northern city from ISIL militants.
“The outcome of the military operations conducted by the federal police troops in the Southern flanks of Mosul, has included the liberation of Al-Mincar, Bazonah, Poglawin, Kharrar, Ain Shalhoub, Al-Kusbah, Al-Khafsan, Al-Qahira, Munira and Nazazah villages South of Hamam al-Alil district,” Federal Police Commander Gen. Raed Shakir Jawdat said, Badr News reported.
The operation to retake Mosul from the ISIL has been ongoing since October 17. More than 30,000 Iraqi and 4,000 Kurdish fighters are taking part in the offensive, backed by about 5,000 US troops and supported by US-led coalition airstrikes. Mosul has been occupied by the ISIL since 2014.
The Iraqi push to drive terrorists out of their main stronghold has recently met with fierce resistance. The Iraqi armed forces are receiving air support from a US-led international coalition, which reportedly killed further 149 ISIL members earlier this week.