Kurdish forces retake town of Bashiqa near Mosul, say officials
Iraqi Kurdish forces have retaken the town of Bashiqa, one of the last areas east of Mosul to be held by the Islamic State group.
Published: 08th November 2016 03:24 PM | Last Updated: 08th November 2016 03:24 PM | A+A A-
BAGHDAD: Iraqi Kurdish forces have retaken the town of Bashiqa, one of the last areas east of Mosul to be held by the Islamic State group, a top security official said Tuesday.
Kurdish peshmerga fighters had launched an assault on Bashiqa the day before, advancing on the town from three sides as the battle to retake Mosul, the last IS-held Iraqi city, entered its fourth week.
The town is under "complete control", Jabbar Yawar, the secretary general of the Kurdish regional ministry responsible for the peshmerga, told AFP by telephone.
"Our forces are clearing mines and sweeping the city," Yawar said.
"In the morning, there was a group of terrorists hiding inside some of the houses who wanted to escape... and 13 of them were killed," he said, adding that five more were found inside tunnels.
Forces from Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region are operating north and east of Mosul, but aside from the Bashiqa operation, federal forces have shouldered the bulk of the fighting in recent days.
The operation to retake Mosul was launched on October 17, with Iraqi forces advancing on the city from the north, east and south.
Special forces have battled IS inside eastern Mosul, while forces have also approached the city from the north, but those on the southern front, which had the longest way to go, have still not reached its outskirts.
IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in June 2014, but has been on the defensive since last year, and Iraqi forces backed by US-led air support have regained much of the territory they lost to the jihadists.