Daesh Trapped After Iraqi Forces Recapture Mosul Airport - US Envoy
- Author: Leroy Wright Feb 23, 2017,
Feb 23, 2017, 22:44
Iraq's state media later reported that the country's special forces were fully in control of the airport. Some of them were wounded. "We were afraid and we made a decision to escape towards the Humvees", said Ahmed Atiya, one of the escaped civilians said, referring to Islamic State by its Arabic name.
The airport had been occupied by Daesh fighters.
Islamic State fought back with suicide auto bombs, drones carrying grenades and mortars, Reuters correspondents in the area said. "We were afraid of the shelling".
"We are attacking Daesh (Islamic State) from multiple fronts to distract them and prevent them regrouping", said federal police captain Amir Abdul Kareem, whose units are fighting near Ghozlani military base.
In their drive to seize back control of western Mosul Iraqi forces are expected to encounter particular difficulty, with Isis fighters defending tightly packed residential neighbourhoods, some loyal to the extremist group.
"Congratulations to Iraqi forces for completing complex maneuver ops to secure Mosul airport from ISIS [Islamic State] terrorists".
Western advisers supporting Iraqi forces were seen some 2 km away from the frontline to the southwest of Mosul, a Reuters correspondent said. 100,000 Iraqi troops, alongside Kurdish fighters and Shi'ite militias, are involved in the campaign to retake the city where IS declared its self-styled caliphate after sweeping into vast areas of Iraq and Syria in 2014.
It's a key move in the government's operation to take control of the western half of the city and, ultimately, drive out the jihadist group from Iraq.
In the morning, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah, from the Joint Operations Command, announced in a statement the start of an assault to retake control of Mosul's worldwide airport and a military base nearby from IS militant group.