ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – For a village south of Mosul, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s declaration of victory on Monday was little consolation as Islamic State (IS) militants recaptured territory over the past few days.
Deploying guerrilla-style tactics, armed with machine guns and mortars, IS seized over 75 percent of Imam Gharbi, a village on the western bank of the Tigris River some 70 kilometers south of Mosul.
Reinforcements are expected, Reuters reported.
The attack on Imam Gharbi was launched last week, the kind of strike experts expect the militant group to deploy now that Iraqi forces regain control over major strongholds the group held since its emergence in northern Iraq in 2014.
Stripped of Mosul, pockets of IS resistance in Iraq will be reduced to mainly rural, desert areas west and south of the city.
The US-led coalition along with groups such as the UN warned that victory in Mosul did not mark the end of the group’s global threat.
“Now it is time for all Iraqis to unite to ensure [IS] is defeated across the rest of Iraq and that the conditions that led to the rise of [IS] in Iraq are not allowed to return,” Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend said in a statement.
IS also faces pressure in the de facto capital of its self-declared “Caliphate” in Syria, where US-backed Syrian Kurdish and Arab forces have opened three fronts.
The offensive began last month as Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched the operation to retake the city of Raqqa.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany