Thursday, 22 June, 2017

Mass grave discovered in Mosul

ISIS Tries To Offset The Imminent Loss Of Its Caliphate In Iraq and East Syria Iraqi forces making gains in west Mosul
Garry Little | 14 March, 2017, 00:29

"Mosul's liberation is increasingly in sight albeit with increasingly hard fighting ahead", McGurk said, adding that Iraqi forces are retaking "some of the most hard ground that we knew would have to be reclaimed".

Since starting the campaign in October to push the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) out of its last stronghold in the country, Iraqi forces with US-led coalition support have recaptured eastern Mosul and about 40 percent of the city's west.

Federal police and Rapid Response units said they had entered the Bab al-Tob area of the Old City, where the fight is expected to be toughest due to narrow alleyways through which armored vehicles can not pass. The commandos of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) continued their advance inside the neighbourhoods of Aghawat and Risala in the west of the old city centre.

A pro-government Shia Iraqi militia said Saturday they have discovered a mass grave containing the remains of around 500 bodies at a prison located north-west of Mosul.

While the noose is tightening around the jihadists still in Mosul, the city's recapture would not spell the end of ISIS.

The JOC also said forces from the Rapid Response Division, another special forces unit, and the federal police were also attacking the Bab al-Toub area on the edge of Mosul's Old City.

Iraqi troops fire artillery towards Islamic State (IS) jihadists' positions in west Mosul.

Displaced Iraqis who had fled their homes wait to move to a safe place, in western Mosul.

IS reportedly killed up to 600 people after seizing the jail in 2014, and was also said to have held hundreds of kidnapped women from Iraq's Yazidi minority at the facility. Iraqi Sunnis are disillusioned by the concentration of power by the Shia elite.

A US-backed Iraqi campaign dislodged Islamic State from most Iraqi cities captured in 2014 and 2015.

More than 215,000 persons are now internally displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas following the military operations which began in October 2016, according to the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR.

Losing Mosul would deal a fatal blow to the Iraqi part of Islamic State's self-styled caliphate, which its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared from the city's Nuri Mosque in 2014, and which has spanned large areas of Iraq and neighboring Syria.

The Iraqi Air Force has dropped millions of leaflets on western Mosul, where food and water are scarce and electricity sporadic, warning residents of the ongoing offensive and telling them to remain in their homes if they feel safe.

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