Iraqi forces reach Syria border from western Mosul
30 May 2017 - 14:25
NINEVEH, Mosul: Iraqi forces have advanced from western Mosul in the northern Nineveh province to the border with Syria, an Iraqi military source said Monday.
“Hashd al-Shaabi forces have now reached the village of Um Greis on the Syrian border,” Army Lieutenant Jabbar Hasan told Anadolu Agency.
The Hashd al-Shaabi is a largely Shia fighting force that was incorporated into the Iraqi armed forces last year.
“Um Greis is the first point along the border to be reached by Iraqi forces from Mosul since mid-2014,” Hasan said.
In June of 2014, IS overran vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq, including Mosul. Since then, however, the Iraqi army and its allies have managed to recapture most of this territory.
According to Hasan, Iraqi forces are now gearing up for a large-scale military operation -- to begin “within hours”, he said -- aimed at securing the entire region between Mosul and Iraq’s western Anbar province.
The Iraqi air force, Hasan said, was expected to provide the looming ground operation with air cover.
In a related development, an Iraqi police source said Monday that IS militants had executed 18 civilians in Mosul who had attempted to flee Mosul’s Old City district.
“They were captured by IS terrorists while attempting to flee and were immediately executed,” Saad Muhawis, a local police officer, told Anadolu Agency.
Since October of last year, Iraqi forces have been waging large-scale military operations aimed at driving IS from Mosul, the terrorist group’s last major stronghold in northern Iraq.