World Bulletin / News Desk
Iraqi special forces advanced on the eastern city limits of Mosul on Monday, tightening the noose as the offensive to retake the ISIL group stronghold entered its third week.
As an aircraft struck a suspected ISIL mortar position in the distance, a convoy of Humvees sprayed gunfire across the arid plain at an industrial area still held by extremists.
"The target is to retake Bazwaya and Gogjali, the last two villages before Mosul," Muntadhar al-Shimmari, a lieutenant colonel with US-trained the Counter-extremism Service (CTS), said.
"If we manage that, we'll only be a few hundred metres (yards) from Mosul," he said.
Shimmari said "only a handful of civilians", mostly members of the Shabak minority, were thought to remain in the two villages.
Backed by air and ground support from a US-led coalition, tens of thousands of Iraqi fighters are converging on Mosul on different fronts, in the country's biggest military operation in years.
On the northern and eastern sides of Mosul, the extremist group's last major bastion in Iraq, peshmerga forces from the autonomous Kurdish region recently took several villages and consolidated their positions.Last Mod: 31 Ekim 2016, 12:27