Iraqi army soldiers have managed to liberate two villages south of the strategic northern city of Mosul as government soldiers, backed by fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, are trying to expel Daesh terrorists from the area.
The commander of Nineveh Liberation Operation, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah, said in a press statement on Sunday that the 9th armored division of the army had recaptured the village of al-Razaqiyah, and raised the national Iraqi flag over a number of buildings there.
Yarallah added that Iraqi government forces inflicted heavy losses on the Daesh forces during heavy clashes with the Takfiri militants.
Iraqi soldiers also established control over the village of Hawijah al-Hassan south of Mosul, located some 400 kilometers north of the capital, Baghdad.
Additionally, Daesh terrorists executed seven fellow extremists in central Mosul on charges of fleeing the battlefield. An informed source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network on Sunday that the Daesh terrorists were decapitated with blunt knives as their hands and legs were cuffed.
The source added that the slain militants were accused of escaping clashes with Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units in Kokajli district, which lies east of Mosul.
Iraq’s Joint Operations Command also announced in a statement that Daesh official in charge of military affairs, identified as Mohannad Hamed al-Makani but better known by the nom de guerre, Abu Aisha al-Bilawi, and a number of his foreign aides have been killed in an Iraqi Air Force strike against Yaramjah neighborhood of Mosul.
Moreover, Iraqi army soldiers destroyed three cars rigged with explosives in Awizah village, and cut Daesh supply lines in the al-Sadah district north of Mosul.
The developments came a day after five high-ranking commanders of the Daesh terror network stole millions of dollars from the group and fled to neighboring Syria.
Al-Sumaria television channel reported that the quintet, among them a militant identified as Abu Bara Kakhtani and responsible for the group’s treasury affairs, has left Mosul for the city of Tal Afar, situated 63 kilometers west of Mosul, and are planning to take refuge in the small town of Ba’aj next and Syria eventually.
The Daesh leadership has ordered a search operation to find the commanders and execute them.
Iraqi forces to face fiercer Daesh resistance in Mosul
Meanwhile, Masrour Barzani, the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Security Council and son of KRG President Massoud Barzani, has warned that Iraqi army soldiers and pro-government forces will face “fierce and vicious resistance” from Daesh militants in the next phase of the operation to retake Mosul.
Barzani stated that Daesh terrorists would most likely resort to bomb attacks and booby traps to compensate for huge losses in their battles with army troops and volunteer fighters seeking to drive out the militants from their last stronghold in Iraq.
The top KRG security official underlined that Daesh would not be totally eliminated following Mosul liberation since the group’s school of insurgency will stay behind.
He added the campaign against Daesh has economic and ideological dimensions besides the military aspect, noting that the battle will take several years to succeed.
After months of preparation, Iraqi army soldiers, backed by volunteer fighters and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, launched an operation on October 17 to retake the strategic northern city of Mosul from Daesh terrorists.
So far, a large number of villages and districts around the city, located 400 kilometers north of Baghdad, have been purged of the extremists.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has vowed that Mosul, once Iraq’s second largest city before Daesh militants overran it in June 2014, will be fully recaptured by year-end.