Iraqi army controls main roads out of Mosul, trapping Islamic State

    An Iraqi Special Forces soldier moves through a hole as he searches for Islamic State fighters in Mosul, Iraq. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

    In other worldly news, hundred days after capturing Eastern Mosul the Iraqi army (backed by the US) have taken control of the roads leading into Western Mosul trapping ISIS – PB/TK

    Iraqi army controls main roads out of Mosul, trapping Islamic State -(Reuters) March 1, 2017

    U.S.-backed Iraqi army units on Wednesday took control of the last major road out of western Mosul that had been in Islamic State’s hands, trapping the militants in a shrinking area within the city, a general and residents said.

    The army’s 9th Armored Division was within a kilometer of Mosul’s Syria Gate, the city’s northwestern entrance, a general from the unit told Reuters by telephone.

    “We effectively control the road, it is in our sight,” he said.

    Mosul residents said they had not been able to travel on the highway that starts at the Syria Gate since Tuesday. The road links Mosul to Tal Afar, another Islamic State stronghold 60 km (40 miles) to the west, and then to Syria.

    Iraqi forces captured the eastern side of Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting and launched their attack on the districts that lie west of the Tigris river on Feb. 19.

    If they defeat Islamic State in Mosul, that would crush the Iraq wing of the caliphate declared by the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2014 from the city’s grand old Nuri Mosque.

    The U.S.-led coalition effort against Islamic State is killing the group’s fighters more quickly than it can replace them, British Major General Rupert Jones, deputy commander for the Combined Joint Task Force said.

    With more than 45,000 killed by coalition air strikes up to August last year, “their destruction just becomes really a matter of time,” he said on Tuesday in London.

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