– A broad military campaign aimed at retaking northern Iraq’s Daesh-held city of Mosul entered its second day Tuesday with more losses sustained by the terrorist group, according to Iraqi military sources.
“Iraqi forces are continuing the push on Mosul along two separate axes,” Mohamed al-Jubouri, a colonel in the Iraqi army’s Nineveh Operations Command, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
The first axis, he explained, which was being pursued by units of the Iraqi army’s Ninth Division, runs from the Al-Kuwer to the Nimrud areas southeast of Mosul.
Simultaneously, Iraqi federal police personnel are moving along a second axis — toward the village of Tlul Nasser — from the south, according to al-Jubouri.
“Troops advancing along the second axis are now moving in on Tlul Nasser and the Al-Mishraq sulphur plant, both of which are located in the Al-Qayyarah area south of Mosul,” al-Jubouri said.
Ali al-Darraji, an Iraqi army lieutenant, told Anadolu Agency that Daesh’s defenses had been decisively breached in the village of Abbas Rajab near the Hammam al-Alil area south of Mosul.
According to al-Darraji, Iraqi forces on Tuesday morning captured the village despite fierce resistance by Daesh militants.
“Abbas Rajab is of vital strategic importance,” al-Darraji said. “Its capture will contribute to rapid progress by forces advancing on Mosul along the southern axis.”
Amin al-Jazaeri, an officer in the army’s Ninth Division, for his part, told Anadolu Agency that Iraqi forces were now stationed in several of the villages south of Mosul that had been captured over the last 36 hours.
In a further development Tuesday, security forces managed to capture another two villages south of Mosul, according to Raed Jawdat, a Federal Police commander.
In a statement, Jawdat said an elite police division had “liberated” two villages in the Al-Hud area.
And according to an Anadolu Agency correspondent close to the fighting, Iraqi army forces captured the Al-Hamdaniya district following fierce clashes with Daesh militants.
Located some 10 kilometers southeast of Mosul, Al-Hamdaniya is the first district of Mosul to be decisively taken from Daesh.
Meanwhile, Kurdish Peshmerga forces stationed in Bashiqa (located roughly 12 kilometers northeast of Mosul) have yet to join the battle for Mosul due to “supply shortages”, according to an Iraqi military source.
“Peshmerga forces had been expected to launch operations from the northeast today,” Iraqi Army Major Saadoun al-Delimi told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
“Due to supply shortages, however, the operation has been postponed until tomorrow,” he added.
According to Anadolu Agency correspondents in the field, Daesh militants are using unmanned aerial drones to attack Peshmerga forces east of Mosul.
At least one Peshmerga fighter was hurt by a bomb dropped by a Daesh drone that took off in the Al-Khazir region, an Anadolu Agency correspondent reported.
In mid-2014, Daesh captured Mosul — Iraq’s second largest city — before overrunning large swathes of territory in the country’s northern and western regions.
Recent months have seen the Iraqi army, backed by local allies on the ground and a U.S.-led air coalition, retake much territory.
Nevertheless, the terrorist group remains in control of several parts of the country, including Mosul.
In recent weeks, the army and its allies have staged a gradual advance on the city, which officials in Baghdad have vowed to recapture by year’s end.