FRONTLINE VIDEO: Kurdish Peshmarga Troops Advance to Join Mosul Operation

Tue Oct 18, 2016 09:59:36

Iraqi government forces, with air and ground support from the US-led coalition, launched an offensive on Monday to drive Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL) from the northern city of Mosul, the militants’ last major stronghold in the country.

The Iraqi Kurdish military command said 4,000 Peshmerga were taking part in an operation to clear several villages held by Islamic State to the east of Mosul, in an attack coordinated with a push by Iraqi army units from the southern front.

In its first statement on the Mosul operations, the Iraqi army media office said the advancing troops destroyed a number of Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL) defense lines.

A column of black smoke was seen rising from one of the insurgents’ positions on the eastern front, the Reuters correspondent said, and seemed to be from burning oil being used to block the path of the Kurds and obstruct the jets’ view.

Helicopters released flares overhead and explosions could be heard on the city’s eastern front, where Kurdish fighters moved forward to take outlying villages, a Reuters correspondent said.

The United States predicted Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL) would suffer “a lasting defeat” as Iraqi forces mounted their biggest operation since the US withdrew its own troops in 2011.

Some 30,000 Iraqi soldiers, Kurdish Peshmerga militia and Sunni tribal fighters were expected to take part in the offensive to drive an estimated 4,000 to 8,000 Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL) militants from Mosul, a city of 1.5 million people.

If Mosul falls, Raqqa in Syria will be Islamic State’s last city stronghold.

Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL) has been retreating since the end of last year in Iraq, where it is battling US-backed government and Kurdish forces as well as Iraqi Shia militias, Reuters reported.

S/SH 11

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