ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – As Iraqi forces prepare to launch the military operation to retake the western part of Mosul from the Islamic State (IS), photos on social media circulated Monday showing military trucks transporting floating bridges to the city.
In the photos, several trucks are seen traveling in convoys somewhere near Mosul, but the exact location remains unknown.
An Iraqi military commander in Mosul spoke to Kurdistan24 on condition of anonymity and explained the purpose of the bridges.
The bridges will connect both the east and west side of Mosul by creating a thoroughfare across the Tigris River that divides the city into two parts, the commander revealed.
Moreover, the commander mentioned to Kurdistan24 that despite the extremist group on the verge of defeat, the battle in the western part of Mosul would be challenging.
He added the neighborhoods were crowded and narrow which made it difficult for the military trucks to fight inside.
Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces launched the Mosul operation on Oct. 17, 2016, and fully liberated the east and north part of the city earlier in January.
At the moment, the city remains extensively damaged and out of essential services for civilians.
Thousands of displaced civilians have already fled to the Kurdistan Region seeking refuge with several thousand more expected to leave as forces enter areas controlled by IS.
The extremist group occupied Mosul in June 2014 and shortly expanded to other parts of Iraq.
Since then, IS has lost most of the territory it once controlled and continues to shrink in Iraq and Syria.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany