Commander: Iraqi forces liberate 60 percent of ISIL-ruled regions west of Mosul

FNA- A senior Iraqi volunteer forces commander announced that Hashd al-Shaabi popular troops have seized back over half of the towns and villages between Mosul and the border with Syria.

“Some 60 percent of the regions on the Western side of Mosul has been recaptured,” senior Hashd al-Shaabi commander Hassan al-Sari said on Tuesday.

He noted that the Iraqi forces are only 20 kilometers away from the city of Tal Afar now, and said, “Hashd al-Shaabi is waiting for the Iraqi armed forces’ commander-in-chief to start the second phase of their military operation.”

Al-Sari said that Iraq’s volunteer forces have concluded the first phase of their military operations in areas on the Western flank of the flashpoint city after freeing 60 percent of the whole region and approaching Tal Afar.

He reiterated that using the civilians as human shield by the ISIL inside Tal Afar and intensified suicide attacks has prevented the start of the second phase of military operation in Western Mosul.

In relevant remarks on Monday, senior commander of the Iraqi volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) announced that his forces have taken full control of all roads to the city of Mosul in Nineveh province.

“The Hashd al-Shaabi forces are now in full control of all roads leading to Mosul … and they have managed to seize back 65 villages,” Abu Mohandes said.

He reiterated that fierce clashes are underway with the ISIL near the borders with Syria.

On October 29, the Iraqi volunteer forces started their liberation operations to seize back the Western side of Nineveh province and their goal was to take control of the city of Tal Afar and prevent the ISIL from fleeing towards Syria.

On Sunday, Spokesman of Iraq’s Hezbollah al-Nujaba Movement Seyed Hashem al-Moussavi said that volunteer forces stay behind Tal Afar’s gates to let army’s special units and security forces to fight ISIL in the city.

“The popular forces aim to block ISIL movements from Nineveh province in Northwestern Iraq to Syria, specially Raqqa,” al-Moussavi told FNA.

“We are liberating and purging the terrorists from the villages in the Western parts of Nineveh to reach Tal Afar and then surround it,” he added.

Al-Moussavi underlined the importance of the Western parts of Nineveh province, and said, “Cutting off this axis will stop aid to the terrorists who are trafficking between Mosul and Syria and we can then fully separate Nineveh from Syria, specially Raqqa.”

Noting that the popular forces don’t intend to enter the center of Tal Afar city, Moussavi said based on previous agreements, the Iraqi army and anti-terrorism forces will enter Tal Afar and the popular forces will only lay siege on the city and cut off the terrorists’ supply routes.

He said in addition to cutting off the terrorists’ supply routes from Iraq to Syria, the popular forces are also safeguarding the borders between the two countries and have facilitated capture of the terrorists in all parts of the region.

A senior commander announced on Saturday that the Iraqi volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) was recapturing more lands to the West of Mosul as the country’s army laid siege on ISIL terrorists South of the city.

“Hashd al-Shaabi has seized back over 56 villages since the beginning of the Mosul liberation operation,” the Arabic-language media quoted Senior Hashd al-Shaabi Commander Javad al-Talibavi as saying.

Meantime, he said that the Iraqi army and federal police laid siege on the ISIL terrorists in Hamam al-Alil market to the South of Mosul city.

Al-Talibavi noted that most of the supply routes to the ISIL have been cut off, and said, “We fully destroyed the terrorists’ Abu Omar al-Baghdadi armored battalion that was formed by the ISIL to confront the Iraqi volunteer forces in Western Mosul.”

Al-Talibavi also said that the liberation operation of the city of Tal Afar will be easy for the Iraqi volunteer forces because the ISIL terrorists have already realized that they are incapable of confronting the volunteer forces.

Earlier on Saturday, Commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces Hadi al-Ameri said volunteer forces have seized full control of the ISIL-controlled roads linking the city of Mosul in Iraq to Raqqa in Syria.

“We have expanded control over the strategic Tal al-Zalat intersection and seized control over vital roads and supply routes, including Tal Afar-al-Mohlabieh-Mosul road,” al-Ameri, who is also the Badr Organization Secretary General, said.

He noted that volunteer forces have also imposed control over the strategic Tal Abteh to al-Ba’aj road which was the most important route of the ISIL to Syria.

The Iraqi volunteer forces have started fresh military operations in the Western part of Mosul to cut off ISIL’s supply routes between Mosul and Raqqa.