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The comprehensive military campaign by Iraqi military forces to liberate the Northern city of Mosul from ISIL militants continued on Wednesday with Iraqi sources making more advances inside and around the city, and the Iraqi Police Commander General Shaker Jawdat saying the ISIL has started its final collapse in Mosul as the terrorist group’s commanders are escaping the city in numbers.
Police Chief: ISIL Commanders Fleeing Mosul
Iraqi Police Commander General Shaker Jawdat said ISIL has started its final collapse in Mosul as the terrorist group’s commanders are escaping the city in numbers.
“The ISIL terrorists are presently facing confusion due to their defeats in tough battles with the Iraqi government forces,” the Arabic-language media quoted Judat as saying on Wednesday.
He reiterated that Iraq’s intelligence data indicate that the ISIL is on the verge of full collapse as the terrorist commanders are escaping from the city.
Iraq’s PMF Repulses ISIL Attack Southeast of Tikrit
A local source in the Iraqi province of Salahuddin informed that Popular Mobilization Forces managed to repulse an attack launched by ISIL militants Southeast of Tikrit, local sources said.
The source said that the popular forces, locally known as Hashd al-Shaabi, repelled an attack launched by the ISIL terror group on Albu Khado village, Southeast of Tikrit District, Al Sumeriya reported.
“The security forces also destroyed two vehicles belonging to the terrorist group, killing two militants, as well as arresting another ISIL member,” the source added on condition of anonymity.
ISIL Terrorists Trying to Blend with Civilians Leaving Mosul
Iraqi security forces said they expect that terrorists of ISIL to try to hide and mix with local residents sliping out of the Northern city of Mosul, as the Iraqi forces are advancing further to eventually liberate the city from ISIL.
An Iraqi intelligence officer said on condition of anonymity that he suspect that the ISIL members, especially non-combatants and those who did not hold any public positions, are desperately trying to avoid ending up in hands of Iraqi security forces, RT reported.
The officer told Reuters that Iraqi Security forces, however, rely on databases of known ISIL members, local informants, and their own professional flair to identify ISIL militants among the groups Iraqi civilians leaving Mosul.
Iraqi Forces Close in on ISIL-Held Mosul Government Buildings
Iraqi forces battled their way to within firing range of Mosul’s main government buildings, a major target in the offensive to dislodge ISIL militants from their remaining stronghold in the Western side of the city.
Terrified civilians were fleeing the fighting, some toward government lines, often under militant fire. Others were forced to head deeper into ISIL-held parts of the city, straining scarce food and water supplies there, Iraqi News reported.
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 ISIL in Mosul, that would end in terror group without a major urban bastion in Iraq.
Iraqi Army Effectively Cuts Last Main Exit Road Out of Mosul
Iraqi army units shut the last main exit out of the ISIL terror group’s stronghold in Western Mosul, controlling access to the city from the Northwest, a general and residents there said on Wednesday.
The army’s 9th armored division is within a kilometer of Mosul’s “Syria Gate”, the Northwestern entrance of the city, a general from the unit told reporters by telephone, Iraqi News reported.
“We effectively control the road, it is within our sight,” he said. Mosul residents said they had not been able to travel on the highway that begins at the “Syria Gate” since Tuesday.
The road links Mosul to Tal Afar, another ISIL stronghold 60 km (40 miles) to the West, and then to the Syrian border
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Turkey-backed forces will move to Manjib
A prominent Turkish analyst underlined that his country’s soldiers and their allied militants fighting for the Ankara-backed Euphrates Shield Operation has turned into a crisis for Turkey, adding that Turkey will most possibly be not allowed to take part in the Raqqa operations.
“Given the fact that Turkey has continued the Operation in the past 8 months, there are doubts about its success as there are tough differences and complaints in Turkey over this military adventurism,” Malik Kaya said on Wednesday.
He referred to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s claims that his country wants to occupy 5,000sq/km of Syrian territories, and said that Ankara is now facing the problem of the Syrian refugees, as some rows and clashes are reported between the refugees and the Turkish population in addition to their feeding expenses, education and employment.
Noting that continuation of the Euphrates Shield Operation has turned into a crisis in Turkey and fomented differences among the Turkish officials, Kaya asked if Turkey will have any real chance to take part in the Raqqa operations.
“It seems that Turkey will not be given any such chance and opportunity,” he answered.
A top placed military source revealed earlier on Wednesday that the Syrian army plans to tighten security measures across the regions stretching from East Aleppo to the Kurdish populated territories in Afrin Canton to block any possible advance by either the ISIL or the Turkish soldiers and their allied militants fighting for the Ankara-backed Euphrates Shield Operation.
The source said that the Syrian army intends to carry out a clean-up operation in the towns of Jubb al-Sultan, al-Za’aroureh, Jubb al-Homam and Jubb al-Khafa and the villages South of Manbij to strengthen its lines of defense along the strip that stretches to the Kurdish-held region in Northeastern Aleppo.
The Syrian forces have liberated several towns South of Manbij in the last few days and blocked any further advances of the Turkish army and Ankara-backed militants towards Manbij, reconnecting Eastern Aleppo to its Northeastern parts after five years.
The army also advanced against ISIL in Eastern Aleppo and cut off pathway of Ankara-backed militants to Raqqa.
A source in the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) confirmed on Tuesday that the Syrian army troops continued their advances against the ISIL in Eastern Aleppo and deployed forces close to the town of Manbij, blocking the Turkey-backed militants move towards Raqqa province.
The source said that the Syrian Army soldiers reached SDF-controlled regions near Manbij so no pathway remained open to the Turkey-led Euphrates Shield Operation forces to go to Raqqa province.
The source underscored that the SDF would continue the Euphrates Rage Operation and would advance towards Raqqa; “hence they would also be able to block the Raqqa-al-Bab road and the al-Bab-al-Tabaqa road to Ankara-backed militants.
The sources further added that with the arrival of the Syrian Army in regions near Manbij, the road connecting regions controlled by the Kurds to the Afrin Canton in Northern Aleppo was reopened and Manbij was once again connected to Ein al-Arab (Kobani).
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Syrian Forces are Entering Palmyra
The Syrian Forces have started to enter the city of Palmyra, field reports claim. After seizing control of the Palmyra triangle and liberating the citadel of Palmyra, it is now only a matter of time when Palmyra as a whole will be liberated. Vanguard units of the Syrian Army are said to have already started to enter the city. The Army also gained control of the key water sources and the southern fields. The Syrian army is making constant gains in the areas surrounding Palmyra. ISIS terrorists are currently facing severe losses.
The Army also destroyed a building that was filled with terrorists in Harasta, east of Damascus.
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