Baghdad – Iraqi forces launched on Thursday the second phase of their operations to liberate the eastern part of Mosul controlled by terrorist ISIS organization, while U.S. military advisers were seen watching operations as coalition aircraft circled overhead, according to a report published by Reuters.
A commander with the quick-reaction forces, a unit linked to the Interior Ministry said on Thursday that his forces and forces from the counter-terrorism service advanced in the Intisar district, south eastern Mosul.
A senior officer in Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service, Staff Lieutenant General Abdulghani al-Assadi said, “The second phase of liberating the left bank in Mosul was launched, and our forces began advancing toward Al-Quds neighborhood.”
“Our forces clashed with the enemy and there is resistance,” he told AFP, adding forces on the northern and southern fronts were also advancing.
Meanwhile, the commanding chief of the offensive, Staff Lieutenant General Abdulamir Yarallah announced late Thursday “the complete liberation of the northern coast of the left bank in Mosul.”
Yarallah also announced the killing of the northern coast of the left bank’s commander, terrorist Abu Hazaifa in an airstrike launched by the International Coalition.
Eyewitnesses in Mosul said they heard tens of missiles and airstrikes launched on terrorist positions inside the city. Iraqi forces destroyed eight booby-trapped cars and have killed 24 militants in the southeastern part of the city, according to Yarallah.
Around 100 thousands members from the Iraqi forces, the Kurdish Security Forces and Shi’ite factions are involved in the Mosul battle, described as the “biggest ground operation in Iraq since the U.S.-led occupation in 2003.”
According to Reuters, more than 5,000 soldiers and federal police troops, redeployed from Mosul’s southern outskirts, entered half a dozen southeastern districts, while counter-terrorism forces advanced in al-Quds and Karama districts after reinforcements arrived.
The fall of Mosul would probably spell the end for ISIS’ ambition to rule over millions of Iraqi people, although the militants would still be capable of waging a traditional insurgency in Iraq, and plotting or inspiring attacks on the West.