Exactly one month after the offensive to liberate Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul began, the Iraqi Armed Forces have freed hundreds of villages from the grips of the Islamic State.
In the past 48 hours, the pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have seized a further six villages from ISIS in the desert terrain west of Mosul; namely Al-Rakrak, Sirwal, Hajarat Al-‘Alil, Um Hajarat Al-Suflah, Tall Um Mahyoor, and Mudhhali.
After reopening this frontline, the latest advances put the PMU just 26 kilometers from Tal Afar Airbase. Should Iraqi forces seize control of Tal Afar, they will not only have robbed the Islamic State of another city but also sever its only supply line to Mosul.
Meanwhile, on the southern flank of Mosul, the Iraqi Federal Police is closing in on Mosul International Airbase, a significant prize only 5 kilometers away. Nearby, government forces also seized Nayfah and Nimrud; the latter represents an ancient Assyrian site.
Bloody urban warfare continues in the eastern part of Mosul city where the Iraqi Armed Forces have wrestled a dozen districts from ISIS and are gradually advancing.
Participating in the battle to push further westwards into the heart of Mosul are the Iraqi Army’s ‘Golden Division’, 9th Armoured Division, Iraqi special forces (Counter Terrorism Service) and Nineveh Protection Units (Assyrian paramilitary).
Since the beginning of the campaign to liberate Mosul, over 800 Iraqi and US airstrikes have been conducted on ISIS targets in and around the Islamic State stronghold.
According to one Iraqi official, the Islamic State death toll during the first 30 days’ Mosul operations is estimated at 2800; if true, this would mean that half ISIS’ regional fighting force has been annihilated in just one month. Meanwhile, Amaq Agency claims 412 Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers have been killed and thousands more wounded during the battle for Mosul.
Also, the UN estimates 54,000 refugees have escaped ISIS rule in Mosul so far.
A larger version of the latest Mosul map can be found here.