World

In shadow of Mosul fight, Iran establishes Nineveh foothold

In shadow of Mosul fight, Iran establishes Nineveh foothold

Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul fell to IS in the summer of 2014 as the militants swept over much of the country's north and central areas.

To get there, they would have to pass through territory held by USA -backed Syrian Kurdish forces that the US military has been training to fight IS.

The militants began moving their prisoners out of the Medical City district as Iraqi forces advanced on them, two residents speaking by phone said, asking not to be identified.

"We have not changed the rules of engagement", Mattis said.

Mosul is separated by the Tigris River, making the left bank on the eastern side as the left side while the right bank on the western side as the right side.

As the PMF secure more of the border region, they plan to "erect a dirt barricade and dig a trench", said Sheikh Sami al-Masoudi, a paramilitary group leader.

"The Iranians have been prioritizing something that the USA has overlooked: control over strategic roads, rather than control of the Sunni communities", Fantappie said explaining that the US -led coalition's fight against IS has largely focused on retaking cities while the PMF have instead focused on transit and supply lines.




Jets from a USA -led coalition against Islamic State hit pro-government Iran-backed militias on May 18 as they tried to advance south of Zaza towards Tanf, a base on the Syria-Jordan border where US troops are training FSA rebels.

Troops have been trying to drive ISIS fighters out of the last remaining strongholds they control in Mosul's Old City.

Dozens of houses in the Az Zanjili district were reportedly completed flattened by the air raids - which lasted several hours, an army officer said, adding that it is estimated at least 200 people were killed in the attack.

The attack was the first such close confrontation between United States troops and fighters backing Assad.

Hashim al-Mousawi, a leader with al-Nujaba militia, which is also part of the PMF, said the troops are ready to move inside Syrian territories but that this needs Iraqi government approval.

A member of the Mosul council Mohammed Hassan told The New Arab the aircrafts resorted to carpet-bombing the area after the Iraqi army failed to advance against IS militants, which led to "the hysterical bombing of an entire neighbourhood".

Iraqi forces pressed forward on Monday with a broad offensive targeting Daesh group-held areas in west Mosul and called for civilians to leave areas where fighting is taking place. Weeks later the head of the Sunni extremist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, announced the formation of a self-styled caliphate in Iraq and Syria from the pulpit of a Mosul mosque.


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