Middle East Iraq’s Shia militia isolate Mosul and Raqqa

Iraq’s Shia militia isolate Mosul and Raqqa
Shia fighters fire artillery towards Islamic State militants during a battle on the outskirts of Tal Afar west of Mosul, Iraq, Nov. 18, 2016. (Photo: Reuters/Stringer)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Iraqi Shia militias on Saturday claimed the road between Iraq’s Tal Afar and Syria had been blocked from Islamic State (IS) movements.

In a statement on the weekend, Shia militia Hashd al-Shaabi announced they were able to isolate the city of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, from IS-controlled areas in Syria after regulating most of the main roads between Iraq and Syria.

“The Hashd al-Shaabi command announces that its forces have managed to fully isolate Tal Afar from Syria where most of the major supply routes linking Mosul to Syria have been cut,” the statement read.

On Nov. 16, the Shia militias took control of the Tal Afar airport 10 kilometers south of the IS-held city.

The statement added Hashd al-Shaabi’s engineering teams were now clearing the airport from the mines and explosives planted by IS extremists.

On Thursday, Hadi al-Amri, leader of the al-Badr units, a faction of the Hashd al-Shaabi militias, said the Tal Afar airport would be used as a base to retake the other areas west of Mosul, especially the Iraqi-Syrian border.

On Oct. 17, the Kurdistan Region Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces launched the operation to retake Mosul from IS insurgents.

Since then, several areas surrounding Mosul and several neighborhoods inside the city have been liberated.

On Nov. 16, IS revealed through its Amaq News Agency the self-declared caliphate had lost territory inside the city of Mosul due to the advance of Iraqi security forces.

The announcement was the first time the extremist group had admitted defeat.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany