Iraq Forces Cut Off IS-held Mosul From Syria

Iraq forces cut off IS-held Mosul from Syria

MOSUL, Iraq, , (Pakistan Point News - APP - 23rd Nov, 2016 ) - Forces battling the Islamic State group in northern Iraq cut off the jihadists' last supply line from Mosul to Syria Wednesday, trapping them in the city for a bloody last stand. A day after the last major bridge over the Tigris in Mosul was bombed by the US-led coalition against IS, elite forces fighting in the east of the city also reported significant progress. To the west of Mosul, Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) paramilitary forces made a push to cut the road between two towns on the route heading to Syria, security officials said.

"Hashed forces have cut off the Tal Afar-Sinjar road," senior Hashed commander Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis said on social media. A Kurdish security official told AFP that Hashed forces had linked up with other anti-IS forces, including Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters, in three villages in the area. The town of Tal Afar itself, which lies about 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Mosul, is still under the control of the jihadists. Iraqi forces launched a major offensive on October 17 to retake Mosul, which is the country's second city and where jihadist supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a caliphate in 2014.

Federal forces have already entered the city from the east. Kurdish peshmerga and other forces are also closing in from the north and south, while only the west had remained open. The latest development will make it very long and dangerous for IS if it attempts to move fighters and equipment between Mosul and the Syrian city of Raqa, the last two bastions of their crumbling "state".