Fight Against IS: Iraqi forces converge on Mosul airport

USA -backed Iraqi security forces started the offensive to liberate the western half of Mosul from the grip of ISIS on Sunday, the last phase in a four-month-long bid to retake Iraq's second largest city. With the backing of US and other foreign forces, the mission is led by Iraqi forces, Kurdish Peshmerga and Iranian-backed Shiite forces on the ground.

They are expected to breach the densely-populated western part of the city once other forces have moved all the way up to Mosul's limits.

Lise Grande, the UN's humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, said: "We are racing against the clock to prepare emergency sites south of Mosul to receive displaced families".

In Iraq, the US-led global coalition claimed to have destroyed the Command and Control Centre of the Islamic State group in Mosul.

SAS commandos will support Iraqi special forces units and army divisions as they sweep into ISIS-held Mosul. "We are hearing reports of parents struggling to feed their children and heat their homes".

Because all five of the bridges spanning the Tigris have been bombed, for this operation Iraqi troops traced a circuitous path to western Mosul, initially approaching it from the city's south.

The fight for areas of the city west of the Tigris river began with a push toward Mosul's main airport and is being led by federal police forces.

Around 750,000 people still remain in western Mosul, according to United Nations estimates.

The US also said that almost half of all food shops were closed and bakeries had shut down due to a lack of fuel and the fact that bakers can not afford to buy flour. Medical and humanitarian agencies estimate the total number of dead and wounded - both civilian and military - at several thousand. The video shows the vehicle and crew, accompanied by an Iraqi Special Forces convoy, laying down some rubber.

But that plan may end up being the same endless war, launched in 2003 by then-President George W. Bush and continued by his successor, President Barack Obama.

Before landing in the Iraqi capital, he told reporters that the United States was not about to plunder Iraq's oil reserves.

The Joint Operations Command coordinating the fight against IS declared east Mosul "fully liberated" on January 24. The attack was claimed by IS, saying it targeted "a gathering of Shias". They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information.

On Sunday, the Iraqi army began a wide-ranging military operation to purge remaining Daesh militants from the city's western districts.

Here is a series of photos by Bram Janssen from the wedding.

  • Leroy Wright