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PMF Launches New Offensive West of Mosul Near Syria Border | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iraqi forces take position on a rooftop in Mosul’s northwestern al-Haramat neighborhood on May 11, 2017. Photo Credit: Fadel Senna/AFP

Baghdad, Mosul- Popular Mobilization Forces launched on Friday an operation to retake the Iraqi neighborhood of al-Qayrawan, west of Mosul, a hub for ISIS on the border with Syria.

“Our operations were launched at 5:00 am on several fronts … The aim is to head west” towards Syria’s border, the deputy chief of the PMF committee Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis said on Friday.

Yahya Rasool, Iraqi army spokesman for the Joint Military Command, told Agence France Presse that the PMF’s operation would be backed by Iraqi military air power.

Asked about the new offensive’s objective, Rasool said: “We should liberate the important areas that are linked to the Syrian border.”

He also expected the operation to be quick because ISIS is losing strength.

The PMF, which has retaken hundreds of villages southwest of Mosul, advanced from five fronts towards towns near al-Qayrawan and exchanged in bloody battles with extremists.

Al-Qayrawan links Nineveh province with the Syrian border, where the jihadists use as a supply route.

According to the German News Agency, the PMF command said its units are encircling al-Qayrawan from the southern, northern and eastern directions in preparation for storming it.

In the process, the Iraqi air force, which is providing air power to the PMF units, destroyed several booby-trapped vehicles. The PMF also blew up two explosive-laden vehicles and killed six militants in the liberated village of Umm al-Shababik.