ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Iraqi security forces on Sunday liberated several key areas after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of the military operation to retake the western side of Mosul from the Islamic State (IS).
In a statement on Iraqi State TV, Abadi announced the launch of the military offensive to retake the remaining parts of Mosul from the extremist group.
The Prime Minister said the priority of the Iraqi security forces would be freeing civilians who remained trapped in the area.
Following Abadi’s announcement, Iraqi federal troops advanced and liberated several places from IS including Azba and az-Zaka villages in southern Mosul.
The forces also controlled az-Zaka’s central power station, according to the Mosul Campaign Commander Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Rasheed Yarallah.
The troops also retook Bakhira, al-Jamasa, al-Bijwari, al-Kafur, al-Gantira, and al-Abyad villages in western Mosul.
Additionally, they controlled the al-Aqrab security checkpoint where the troops raised the Iraqi flag for the first time in over two years, according to Iraqi Media War Cell.
The Chief of Iraqi Federal Police Shakir Jawdat revealed the forces had killed three IS snipers and broke the group’s defense lines from five fronts.
Aircrafts dropped millions of leaflets in parts of western Mosul, calling people to help Iraqi forces as they enter the area.
The leaflets also asked IS fighters to drop their weapons and surrender to the Iraqi troops.
Meanwhile, as the security forces were advancing on the western side of Mosul, an IS suicide car bomb targeted Sayidati Jamila Round in the Az-Zuhur neighborhood located in the eastern part of the city which was liberated at the beginning of January 2017.
IS occupied Mosul in June 2014 and shortly expanded to other parts of Iraq.
Since then, they have lost most of the territory they once controlled, and the group continues to shrink inside Mosul.
Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces launched the military operation to retake the city from IS in October 2016.
They have already liberated the eastern and northern part of Mosul, and the operation continues to free the city from the insurgent group completely.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany