DAMASCUS, SYRIA (4:10 P.M.) – Over the past 24 hours, the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have captured some 20 villages in the Al-Qayrawan desert region southwest of Mosul.
Among the confirmed liberated villages were Um Hajara, Mugheira Al-Abid, Khanisy, Tall Banat, Khilo, Tall Azoo, Tall Haat, Mohammed Zaid, Hazil, Hayat, Tall Hasaynat, Mahdi Maha, Sadkhan, Sabyia Haroosh, Abu Lahaf, Tall Hacham, Um Shbabeet and around a dozen hamlets in Nineveh province.
Effectively, the former ISIS-held road between Al-Qayrawan and Sinjar has been brought under PMU control, a move which serves to safeguard the narrow Mosul supply line that has been targeted repeatedly by ISIS raids on both flanks.
Now, the PMU are on the outskirts of Al-Qayrawan city itself, a jihadist bastion under Islamic State control since 2014. The battle for this stronghold is expected to begin later today.
Amid aerial sorties over Al-Qayrawan, an Iraqi chopper was damaged by ISIS anti-aircraft fire this afternoon but managed to return safely with no injures to its pilots.
Furthermore, the predominately Shi’ite PMU are moving ever closer to the border with Syria. Damascus has also welcomed potential PMU operations in Deir Ezzor, an Islamic State hotbed.