VIDEO: Iraqi Forces Say Press Towards Key Qayara Air Base South of Mosul

Wed Jun 29, 2016 15:28:38

Iraq's military said it advanced through northern villages held by Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL , IS and Daesh) on Wednesday, on its way to an airfield which could serve as the staging ground for a future offensive on Mosul, the biggest city held by the terrorists.

Army and counter-terrorism forces recaptured Telol al-Baj, about 260 km north of Baghdad on the main north-south road on Tuesday, a senior commander participating in the offensive told Reuters.

The troops are now around 45 km from the Qayara airbase, less than two weeks after they set out from the refinery town of Baiji, military officials said. Retaking another refinery near Qayara with a production capacity of 16,000 barrels per day could also hit ISIS's finances.

The military's recovery this month of Falluja, west of Baghdad, lent fresh momentum to the campaign to recapture Mosul, Iraq's largest northern city and the biggest anywhere within the ISIS self proclaimed caliphate spanning large stretches of territory seized in Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi forces shelled ISIS positions in Haj Ali region on Wednesday in preparation for a ground advance that would allow them to reach the river bank, an army source said. They are expected to link up with the forces from the south near the air base, about 10 km west of the river.


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