With Trump Focused Elsewhere, Al-Qaeda Readies For The Day After ISIS

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 27, 2017

The Iraqi air force struck Islamic State group targets inside neighbouring Syria, the country's prime minister said on Friday.

Commanders say they will soon complete the recapture of two others residential district, al-Tayyaran and Hawi al-Josaq.

The F16 airstrikes on the towns of Boukamal and Husseibah and were in response to two attacks, on February 15 and 16, that killed dozens in Baghdad. Iraq's premier fighting force, the counterterrorism service, joined the assault on Thursday and committed all 14 of its fighting battalions to capturing the former Ghazlani military base. Residents in Mosul's southwestern al-Jawsaq and Dawasa neighborhoods told CNN late Friday night that ISIS militants were setting fire to shops there as they battled Iraqi forces. Saadi also complained the lack of a grid system for roads in western Mosul made their roadblocks less effective.

The operation to retake Iraq's second largest city was officially launched in October previous year, and in January its eastern half was declared "fully liberated". The seizure of these two major objectives gives the USA -led coalition a secure jump-off point for the next phase of their offensive to overwhelm the Islamic State fighters entrenched in the western areas of Mosul.

"The Canadian Special Operations Task Force continues to deliver on its mandate to provide advice and assistance to its Iraqi Security Forces partner", Bouchard said on Friday.

The Iraqis have cleared terrain to the south and west of Mosul, he said, gaining 24 square miles within the last day, for a total of 100 square miles since the offensive began five days ago.

In another incident, a dozen civilians fleeing towards Iraqi security forces from the outskirts of Al Maamun.

Commanders expect the battle in western Mosul to be more hard, in part because tanks and armoured vehicles can not pass through the narrow alleyways that criss-cross ancient districts there.

The plan will also include both political and military aspects with input from the State Department, intelligence community and Treasury Department, Dunford said.

CTS has led the weeks-long effort to retake areas of the city on the east bank of the Tigris river, only fully liberating it last month.

The airstrikes are first ones by Iraq against IS in Syria that have been publicly acknowledged.

Iraqi and coalition forces are coming under increasing political and military pressure to wrap up the fight for Mosul quickly.

Iraqi forces stated that units stand less than a kilometer away from Mosul's directorate premise in the western side of the governorate on Saturday.

He told AFP near the front line that ISIS jihadists attacked his forces with a suicide auto bomb in Tal al-Rayyan, a village just outside Mosul, and that three other vehicle bombs were found there.

Iraqi federal police units, backed by regular army forces, entered the airport this morning, according to two police officials who said heavy clashes were underway hours later with IS militants hunkered down inside several airport buildings.

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