DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:45 A.M.) – The Iraqi Army’s 15th Division – heavily backed by the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and Kataib Hezbollah (paramilitary branch) – are on the roll in Nineveh province, brushing aside ISIS resistance amid new gains at the Tal Afar pocket.

According to a military source close to Al-Masdar News, Iraqi troops managed to impose full control over the villages of Abu Sheka and Halawah following a series of related gains this weekend. The two villages are located near the main road between Mosul and Tal Afar.

On the other hand, Amaq Agency published photos of a Turkish suicide bomber, nicknamed Abu Musab Al-Turki, striking the newly liberated government-held town of Tal As Saman:

Chris Tomson | AMN
Chris Tomson | AMN
Chris Tomson | AMN

Hours earlier, a second Islamic State suicide bomber was killed by gunfire and his car bomb subsequently disabled by government forces:

Chris Tomson | AMN

In addition, the ISIS-linked Amaq Agency claimed preposterous casualties for the Iraqi Army:
– 114 soldiers dead
– 10 Humvees destroyed
– 12 Technicals destroyed
– 2 Abrams tanks destroyed
– 4 MRAP (mine-clearing vehicles) destroyed

The alleged human and material losses could not be confirmed by Al-Masdar News. Nevertheless, ISIS is estimated to have sustained a similar death toll due to airstrikes, artillery shelling and skirmishes.

The ISIS stronghold of Tal Afar, a predominately Turkmen city in northern Iraq, is surrounded by a network of jihadist-infested villages that pose an obstacle for the Iraqi Army which ultimately looks to eliminate the enclave entirely.

U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon, a coalition spokesman, told news reporters on Monday that Iraqi forces have retaken some 250 square kilometers (95 square miles) from the extremist group since the operation began early Sunday, though they have not yet pushed into the town itself.

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Student currently living in Denmark. Special focus on news from Syria, MENA map-making and strategical military analysis.

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