The Iraqi Armed Forces gained considerable headway in the battle for Mosul on Wednesday as government troops captured a dozen villages south of the Islamic State bastion.
Likely due to ISIS withdrawing its fighters to defend Mosul city itself, the Iraqi Federal Police were able to overrun the villages of Munkar, Qahirah, Munirah, Nuzazah, Kharar, ‘Ayn Shahloom, Kusbah, Bughlaween, Khafsan, and Bazunah during a blitz advance in the desert terrain on the southern outskirts of Mosul.
The advance puts the Iraqi Army on the edge of Hammam al-Alil, a thermal water resort not far from Mosul city. However, the assault on Hammam al-Alil will be complicated as the town is home to some 25,000 residents, dozens of whom have been executed in recent weeks by the Islamic State over fears of a rebellion.
Meanwhile, the pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) also captured the villages of al-Khabirat and al-Alzim west of Mosul earlier today, gradually advancing towards Tal Afar city after a string of advances in this region.
In addition, the Iraqi Army’s special forces, the elite specialized unit tasked by the Baghdad Government with retaking Mosul, are on the very near eastern fringe of the city and have reportedly seized Mosul Radio Station after fully capturing the nearby towns Gogjali and Shahrzad yesterday.
Involved in the offensive to liberate Mosul and the Nineveh governorate are also the Iraqi Army’s 15th Division, the 16th Division, the 9th Armored Division, the Nineveh Plain Protection Units (Assyrian paramilitary unit) and several pro-government Sunni tribal militias, most notably the Sab’awi tribe.
These forces, along with the Kurdish Peshmerga, have captured approximately 150 villages on Mosul’s outskirts since the campaign to liberate Iraq’s second largest city began on October 17th.
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